15 and 16 June 2011 - Sydney Marriott Hotel
36 College St Sydney


Can productive agriculture also be consumer-friendly?

Sponsored by:


    Over recent years there has been a growing conflict between the desire of consumers to purchase more natural and wholesome foods that are perceived to be produced without negative environmental, social and animal welfare impacts, and the need for Australian farmers to apply new technologies to increase productivity and remain internationally competitive.

    How should the Australian agriculture sector respond to this challenge?

    The Australian Farm Institute is convening a national conference on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 of June, to provide the most up-to-date information about these issues, and to enable participants in all sectors of the agricultural supply chain to engage in discussion about the challenges they present, and the opportunities that are available for the sector to effectively respond to those challenges.

    This conference will provide the most up-to-date information about these issues, and enable participants from all parts of the agricultural supply chain to engage in discussion about the challenges they present, and the opportunities that are available for the sector to effectively respond.


    The conference will be held at the Sydney Marriott Hotel, 36 College St Sydney (corner of Oxford street and Hyde Park). It will start at 6.30pm on the Wednesday 15th of June and will end on the Thursday 16th of June at 4.15pm.

    The complete program is available here.

    Conference Dinner
    Wednesday, 15 June 2011
    6.30 pm–10.00 pm : Yahya Kanj, Director, Business Development, The Nielsen Company: Staying ahead of the game; 5 key trends affecting our Industry today and into the future.

    Thursday, 16 June 2011
    7.00 am – 9.00 am: Balancing growing global demand with consumer preferences: Producing more and higher quality meat.
    Brett Stuart, Founding Partner, Global AgriTrends (US)

    9.00 am -10.30 am: The global food challenge: Producing more and producing better!
    Professor Robin Batterham, Former Australian Chief Scientist and President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences
    Geoffrey Annison, Deputy Chief Executive, Australian Food and Grocery Council

    10.30 am:   Morning tea

    11.00 am- 12.15 pm: Consumers’ expectations and behaviour: What do we know so far?   
    Matt Levey, Campaign Manager, CHOICE
    Rob Cairns, Program Manager, Sustainable Agriculture, WWF

    12.15 pm:  Lunch

    1.30 pm - 3 pm: Sustainability and agricultural productivity: Myths and reality   
    Introduction: Rob Banks, Acting General Manager – Livestock Innovation Production Meat & Livestock Australia
    Roger Cady, Cornell University (US), and Sustainability Lead, Elanco Food Industry & Consumer Affairs
    Dr Andreas Dubs, Executive Director, Australian Chicken Meat Federation Inc

    3.00 pm - 4.15pm: PANEL: Standards, certification, labelling: How can the industry best communicate with consumers?   
    Chair: Michael O’Keeffe, Company Director, O’Keeffe & Associates
    Allison Clark, General Manager Customer Relationships, Houston’s Farm
    Hope Bertram, Marketing Manager, RSPCA
    Tony Gleeson, Australian Land Management Group, Chief Executive Ofiicer
    4.00 pm   Afternoon tea   

    Speakers' profile

    Yahya Kanj – The Nielsen Company, Director, Business Development
    Yahya Kanj, graduated with a bachelor of Commerce, majoring in both management and marketing at UWS, and has been with Nielsen for the past 10 years, working across Australia, United Arab Emirates and more recently New Zealand. He has held various roles with Nielsen, working with both fresh and packaged grocery suppliers, as well as retailers, largely centered around helping them drive growth through consumer and shopper led business strategies. More recently, Kanj has spent the last three years working closely with the Fresh Industry in Australia and New Zealand, and has been a past speaker at the Fresh Connections conference as well as other Produce Marketing Associations’ forums across the country.

    Brett Stuart – Global AgriTrends (US), Founding Partner
    Brett Stuart co-founded Global AgriTrends in 2006 with a goal to provide real-time market intelligence in the global agriculture sector. The firm is focused on research and analysis of global meat and livestock. Global AgriTrends provides market intelligence through a variety of subscription reports to clients in the global agribusiness and financial sectors. The firm also conducts company-specific research projects, recently providing analyses and strategies for the North African poultry market. Prior to this, Stuart was the lead economist for the US Meat Export Federation where he conducted numerous research and analysis projects in the global meat trade area as well as advising US trade officials on international meat access issues. He also worked for CattleFax as a global markets analyst.

      Dr Geoffrey Annison – Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), Deputy Chief Executive
    Dr Geoffrey Annison joined the AFGC in October 2007. He has wide experience in food regulation and innovation, having held a number of senior technical and management roles in industry in Australia and overseas, in academia, and in public policy. His career has spanned a number of sectors including the FMCG sector with Goodman Fielder and the AFGC, the rural sector with organisations such as Australian Pork Ltd and AWB Ltd., and research providers such as Massey University in New Zealand and the CSIRO – providing him with an extensive knowledge of current industry issues, particularly in the technical challenges in food science, nutrition and health.

    Dr Rob Banks – Meat & Livestock Australia
    Dr Rob Banks has been with MLA and before that MRC since 1989, working initially in the field of genetic improvement programs, but for the last 10 years responsible for On-farm R&D for Southern Australia. In this role he has helped build and maintain a focus on R&D that simultaneously addresses productivity and environmental outcomes, as well as involving farmers in the development and implementation of new technologies wherever possible. He is currently Acting General Manager for On-Farm R&D in MLA.

      Professor Robin Batterham – former Australian Chief Scientist and President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences
    Professor Robin Batterham is Kernot Professor of Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He is also President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and until recently was Group Chief Scientist, Rio Tinto Limited. He has had a distinguished career in research and technology, in the public and private sectors.
    Professor Batterham was Chief Scientist to the Australian Federal Government from 1999 to 2005 and remains on the Prime Ministers Science, Engineering and Innovation Council. He has been President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and the International Network for Acid Prevention and is President of the International Mineral Processing Congress as well as chairing the Australia India Collaborative Research Fund. He chairs the International Energy Agency Expert Group on Science for Energy.

    Hope Bertram – Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Marketing Manager.
    Hope Bertram commenced working with RSPCA Australia as National Marketing Manager in 2007 and in 2009 took up a newly created role to look after the promotion of the RSPCA’s Humane Food initiatives, including the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme. Since that time she has managed the development and implementation of a promotional campaign for the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme and RSPCA Approved products and the introduction of The Good Egg Awards in Australia.  

      Roger Cady – Cornell University (US), and Sustainability Lead, Elanco Food Industry & Consumer Affairs  
    Roger Cady currently serves as a Senior Technical Advisor and Sustainability Lead on the Elanco Food Industry & Consumer Affairs team. Cady works with the dairy industry and retail chain providing sound science to support sustainable agricultural practices. Throughout Cady’s 11 year employment at Monsanto and now at Elanco, he has worked to integrate research information with practical on-farm management. He is currently focused on methods to reduce natural resouce use in the production of food animal protein and promote environmentally sustainable practices in the food animal industry. Prior to working in industry, Cady served as professor and extension dairy specialist for 18 years at University of New Hampshire and Washington State University. He is co-founder of a popular international 20-year old email based discussion group and a founder of the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association. 

    Rob Cairns – WWF, Program Manager – Sustainable Agriculture
    Rob Cairns is the Program Manager Sustainable Agriculture for WWF Australia. In this role he seeks to establish sustainable farming practices (with a focus on sugar and beef) that have triple bottom line considerations. He brings together farming groups, researchers, supply chain partners, retailers, consumer groups and other NGO’s in an effort to deliver solutions for all. Cairns has a diverse background having worked for the Australian cotton industry, with Cotton Australia, and was heavily involved in policy and advocacy, and the development and implementation of commodity’s BMP program. He has worked overseas with WWF International in London where he established the Better Cotton Initiative. More recently, he was responsible for the sugar industry’s extension program with BSES Limited before returning to WWF. 

      Allison Clark – Houston’s Farm, General Manager Customer Relationships
    Allison Clark is the Quality and Innovation Manager at Houston’s Farm, where she manages the Quality Assurance and Product Development Teams to ensure products produced by Houston’s Farm meet and exceed customer and consumer requirements. She led the Houston’s Farm Environmental Sustainability Project which was successful in winning the inaugural 2007 Woolworths Fresh Food Grant. This grant was used in conjunction with Horticulture Australia Limited to develop a carbon (greenhouse gas) calculation tool for the vegetable industry across a product’s life cycle.  

    Dr Andreas Dubs – Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) Inc., Executive Director
    Dr Andreas Dubs graduated as an experimental physicist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich and Lausanne. Following research in physics, biophysics and neuroscience (including a PhD in neurobiology by the ANU), he spent many years at the interface between government and industry in Australia, France and Germany. While working for the Federal Government, Dubs was in charge of a range of national science and technology and R&D programs, including developing and implementing the Cooperative Research Centres Program. He has also worked on business environment issues such as technical barriers to trade, representing Australia in APEC and WTO forums.

      Tony Gleeson – Australian Land Management Group, Chief Executive Officer.
    Tony Gleeson was one of six landholders who in 2003 established the not-for-profit Australian Land Management Group (ALM Group) to improve land management in ways that enable recognition and reward. He plays a key role in the design and operation of the Group’s Certified Land Management (CLM) system. In the 1970s Gleeson worked in NSW Agriculture, CSIRO, and the NSW Oversees Trade Authority. He has owned and managed grazing properties since 1976. In the 1980s he was Chief of Staff for the Australian Minister for Primary Industries. In 1990 he established a contract research business completing over 120 agricultural and natural resource projects, including the land assessment paper for the 2006 Australian State of the Environment Report.
    Gleeson is Adjunct Associate Professor, Faculty of Agriculture and Law, University of New England. He was an inaugural Director of RIRDC, Board Member of the Queensland Abattoir Corporation, member of the Advisory Board to the Centre for Rural and Regional Innovation, University of Queensland and coordinator of the MLA Northern Beef Research Program.

    Matt Levey – CHOICE Consumer Association, Campaign Manager
    Completely self-funded and independent, CHOICE was founded in 1959 and is the number-one advocate of consumer rights in Australia. As CHOICE’s Head of Campaigns, Matt Levey leads CHOICE’s advocacy and campaigning across a range of consumer issues, including banking, energy and food policy. This includes recent campaigning for the establishment of a supermarket ombudsman to help ensure fairness along the supermarket supply chain. Levey was previously an adviser to the Australian Government, working in environment and climate change policy, and has also worked as a consultant on energy policy.

    Michael O’Keeffe – O’Keeffe and Associates, Company Director
    and Advisor
    Michael O’Keeffe is a company director and advisor to fresh food firms globally. Clients in the USA, UK, Canada, Japan, South Korea as well as Australia include all sectors of the food chain from retailers, suppliers, producers and genetic suppliers. He is Chairman of Premier Fruits and Hortical, a Director of Stockyard Beef and Houston’s Farm and an advisor to CRF (Colac Otway) and the Mitolo Group. He is associate course director of Monash University’s Produce and Meat Industry Executive Development Programs. O’Keeffe is Coordinator of the Global Fresh Food Network, a group of fresh food companies from the UK, US, Canada, and Australia who meet annually at CEO level to discuss strategy and innovation ideas. He is also Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of Kent in the UK. 


    Attendees can choose between the following services:

    • Full conference with a dinner and a full day conference (Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 June)
    • Full day conference (Thursday 16 June)
    • Dinner only (Wednesday 15 June)
    This event is in the past.

    Accommodation is not included in the conference rate, but attendees will receive special accommodation rates. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information.

    Corporate members of the Institute and individual members can receive a 20% discount.To access this special rate, please log in to the AFI website using the "Log In" link above, and then proceed to the online store.


    If you or your company are interested in this issue, there is an opportunity to be part of this conference addressing the growing challenge of simultaneously increasing agricultural productivity and fulfilling consumer needs. Please contact us via email or telephone: (02) 9690 1388 to discuss.