This event has now concluded.

A selection of presentations from this conference can now be viewed.

Speaker Profiles

Dinner Speaker

Gary Helou, Managing Director, Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Limited
Gary Helou was appointed Managing Director, Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Limited (MG), Australia's largest dairy foods company, on 3rd October 2011, bringing to MG extensive experience in leadership roles across the international and domestic food and agricultural industries.

Prior to joining MG, Gary was Chief Executive Officer of SunRice for 11 years, guiding it to become one of the largest rice companies in the world. Before SunRice, Gary held senior leadership roles at Pacific Brands Food Group where he helped build the company's Asian presence. During his career, Gary also spent several years working in Indonesia as Head of Consumer Products at the Indofood Salim Group.

Gary has a Chemical Engineering degree and a Master of Commerce (Marketing) from the University of New South Wales. Gary is fluent in three languages - English, Arabic and Indonesian.  

Breakfast Speaker

J. Matthew Pryor, Chief Executive Officer, Observant
An experienced entrepreneur, Matthew has operated at senior levels for information technology firms in Australia and the USA. After six years in San Francisco that included the rapid growth and eventual acquisition of a software company he co-founded, Matthew returned to Australia. After stints with several US owned technology companies, Matthew joined the investors at Observant, eventually taking on the role of CEO. Matthew has served three years as a member of the board for the Business Process Management Initiative (, and enterprise software standards body.

Observant is helping to reshape agribusiness. At the intersection of IoT, Big Data and Precision Farming, Observant's cloud delivered analytics applications and purpose-built connected device platform delivers yield improvements and efficiencies in water, energy and labour. Observant's C3 product won a 2013 Australian International Design Award and the 2012 Irrigation Australia Innovation Award. 

Session 1: Australia's agricultural trade performance and future prospects

Alan Oxley, Managing Director, ITS Global
Alan Oxley is head of ITS Global, a Melbourne based consultancy which advises on international trade, economic development, resources, sustainability & CSR, and investment, with particular focus on Asia/Pacific. He is Chairman of the Australian APEC Study Centre which is based at RMIT University, Melbourne and is Chair of World Growth (a free market NGO). He is a Member of the Advisory Board of the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels.

Before establishing ITS in 1990, Alan was a career diplomat. He served in Singapore, at the United Nations in New York and in Geneva. He transferred to the Trade Department in 1985 and served as Australian Ambassador to the GATT, the predecessor of the World Trade Organisation until 1989. He served as Chairman of the GATT. He is a regular commentator in media in Australia and international media, including wire services, Forbes, The Washington Times, Jakarta Post, Bangkok Post, CNBC, and Xinhua.

Anders Crofoot, National Vice President, Federated Farmers of New Zealand
Anders Crofoot, a former New Yorker with a background in investment funds analysis, farms the iconic hill country Castlepoint Station in the Wairarapa with his wife Emily. The station has 3,700 hectares of sheep, beef and forestry and runs 25,000 stock units (made up of approximately 20,000 sheep and 1,000 cattle). Castlepoint Station won the Wairarapa Sheep & Beef Farm Business of the Year in 2012.

Anders is the National Vice President of Federated Farmers. A past provincial president of Federated Farmers Wairarapa, Mr Crofoot is a board member of Grow Wellington, the economic development agency for Greater Wellington, Chairman of the Fertiliser Quality Council, the fire chief for Castlepoint and is a past-President of the Dunedin based NZ Grassland Association.

Mark Henry, Project Officer, Australian Farm Institute
Mark Henry is a Project Officer at the Australian Farm Institute. In this role Mark provides analysis and collation of agricultural trade data. The role also includes composition of case studies in workforce capacity of foreign and domestic agricultural sectors. Prior to working with the Australian Farm Institute, Mark was a Graduate Project Engineer with Larpro Projects.

Mark has a Masters of International Economics and Finance from the University of Queensland, and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Majoring in Civil Engineering) from the University of Queensland.

Session 2: Competition policy - how can Australia find the right balance to optimise economic benefits? 

Rod Sims, Chairman, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Rod Sims was appointed Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in August 2011 for a five year term. Rod has extensive business and public sector experience. Immediately prior to his appointment to the ACCC, he was the Chairman of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales, Commissioner on the National Competition Council, Chairman of InfraCo Asia, Director of Ingeus Limited, and member of the Research and Policy Council of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. Rod was also a Director of Port Jackson’s Partners Limited where he advised the CEOs and Boards of some of Australia’s top 50 companies on commercial corporate strategy over many years. Rod relinquished all of these roles on becoming Chairman of the ACCC.

Rod is also a past Chairman of the NSW Rail Infrastructure Corporation and the State Rail Authority and has been a Director of a number of private sector companies. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Rod worked as the Deputy Secretary in the Commonwealth Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet responsible for economic, infrastructure and social policy and the Cabinet Office. He also worked as Deputy Secretary in the Department of Transport and Communications. Rod Sims holds a first class honours degree in Commerce from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Economics from the Australian National University.

Gary Dawson, Chief Executive, Australian Food and Grocery Council
Gary Dawson joined the AFGC as Chief Executive in July 2012 bringing experience in senior corporate affairs roles, politics and the media. In addition to his role as Chief Executive, he is a Director on the Boards of GS1 Australia and Enactus Australia, and alternative Director on the Foodbank Australia Board. Prior to joining the AFGC Gary was VP Communications & External Affairs for Thales Australia, shaping strategy and corporate affairs for one of Australia’s largest defence and technology contractors. From 2005-08 he played a similar role at the ABC as Director Communications, managing government relations and helping to set the national broadcaster’s successful digital broadcasting strategies.

He also has senior experience with one of Australia’s largest member organisations, the NSW Law Society, where he worked as Director Communications. From 1999 – 2004 Gary worked as a Senior Advisor to Prime Minister John Howard, both in the Prime Minister’s Press Office and from 2002-04 as policy advisor on communications, media, science and innovation.

Su McCluskey, Competition Policy Review
Su McCluskey is the CEO of the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), the first national independent policy think tank devoted to regional issues. The RAI conducts research into priority policy issues impacting all areas of Australia lying outside capital cities. Su is also a member of the Competition Policy Review Panel.

Su joined the RAI from the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations where she served for three years as CEO. Su is a past Executive Director of the Office of Best Practice Regulation, was a Consultant Specialist Advisor to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources and held senior policy positions with the Business Council of Australia, the National Farmers' Federation and the Australian Taxation Office.

Su has extensive expertise in regional policy development, taxation, regulatory reform and governance. As well as a broad understanding of policy implementation, her personal experience running a beef cattle stud in Yass, NSW gives her grassroots insight into regional and rural issues. Su was recently named the winner of the 2013 Australian Financial Review and Westpac Regional Women of Influence Award and the 2014 winner of the Women in Australian Agribusiness outstanding contribution to policy category.

Session 3: Digital agriculture and its implications for Australian farmers

Dr David Henry, Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO
Dr David Henry is a Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO based in Melbourne, but with a focus on farming systems across Australia. Working predominantly across the livestock industries, (in particularly dairy and beef systems) his sights are firmly set on how to capture value from new technologies both on and off farm. This includes the development and application of precision and remote digital technologies. With a PhD in Agricultural Science, Dr Henry spent a number of years in Western Australia exploring the development of management tools for grazing systems (particularly in the sheep industry) including the development and delivery of real-time quantitative information derived from satellite remote sensing.

More recently, Dr Henry managed Dairy Australia's national Feedbase Program for the Dairy Industry. Responsibilities included research innovation, design and implementation of practice change in industry, and extension to farmers and service providers.

Doug Fitch, Chief Executive Officer, Agworld Pty Ltd
Doug Fitch is a co-founder of the global information management business Agworld Pty Ltd. He serves as Chief Executive Officer of Agworld, which began its commercial operation in December 2009.
He has been involved and contributed to the agricultural industry for the past 30 years. Passionate about farming from a young age, he began building a practical skill set for farming beginning with an apprenticeship in automotive mechanics, later working as a wool classer, and then manufacturing agricultural implements.

Marrying a local girl from Bruce Rock WA, he moved there where he continued to gain hands on experience in various farming operations, while running his own contracting business. In 1994 Doug joined AgrEvo Pty Ltd as a chemical sales representative, later joining Bayer CropScience, where he worked in both state and national positions across Australia until 2007. He holds a Diploma of Business Leadership from Monash University, and coaches a range of people in the area of leadership. He remains passionate about the industry, and has a strong desire to contribute positively to the challenges farmers and their families face in the space of information management and decision-making.

Daniel Kruithoff, Managing Director, Monsanto
Daniel Kruithoff was appointed Managing Director of Monsanto Australia and New Zealand in April 2012. In addition to leading Monsanto Australia and New Zealand's seeds and traits business, Daniel is also Crop Protection Commercial Lead for Asia Pacific. Daniel has been with the company for 10 years, taking up an entry level customer service role in 2002. Since then, Daniel has held a variety of positions within the company which has equipped him with a deep and broad understanding of the business, growers and the agricultural sector in Australia. As a Territory Manager in Queensland's Darling Downs, he saw first-hand how Monsanto's biotechnology was improving cotton growers' yields and reducing pesticide use and costs.

In Melbourne, Daniel oversaw the company's marketing and strategy efforts across its cotton and canola business before assuming responsibility for Monsanto's vegetable seed business and driving investment in R&D and product development. Daniel has a particular passion for the future of Australian agriculture and its contribution to Australia's economy, community and sustainability. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and a Master of Agribusiness from the University of Melbourne. 

Session 4: What are the new technologies or developments that are likely to deliver productivity gains for farmers in the next 10 years? 
Ben Miles, Head of Cereals and SeedCare Australasia, Syngenta Australia Pty Ltd
Ben studies Biology at Liverpool John Moores University during which time he developed an interest in Crop Protection and Ecology. Ben joined one of Sygenta's legacy companies in 1995 as an Area Sales Manager, covering Central and Northern Scotland. From there he embarked on a career in marketing and has held the roles of Portfolio Manager, Head of Operational Marketing as well as being Head of Marketing for the UK and Ireland. Ben moved to Australia in 2007 when he was appointed Head of Marketing for Australasia before taking on the leadership of the Cereals and SeedCare business in 2011. Ben is qualified in agronomy through the UK's BASIS professional registration scheme.

Professor James Rowe, Chief Executive Officer, Sheep CRC Ltd
Professor James Rowe is CEO of the Sheep Cooperative Research Centre based at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW. Prior to joining the Sheep CRC in 2002 he was Professor of Animal Science at UNE. He has over 30 year's experience in animal-based agricultural research and development working in the private sector and with a number of government and international organisations.

The Sheep CRC has made a significant contribution to development of the Australian sheep industry through a number of initiatives that have improved productivity and the quality of wool and meat products.

John Lloyd, Chief Executive Officer, Horticulture Australia
John Lloyd is currently Chief Executive Officer, Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL). HAL is a not-for-profit, industry-owned company. It works in partnership with Australia’s horticulture industries to invest almost $90 million annually in research, development and marketing programs that provide benefit to industry and the wider community. John was appointed as CEO of HAL in November 2009. Prior to this he held a number of senior roles within the agriculture industry including: Managing Director and Vice President of Case New Holland ANZ; Chairman of Case New Holland Capital; General Manager Commercial at Incitec Pivot Ltd; General Manager Merchandise at Wesfarmers Dalgety Ltd and General Manager Marketing at Wesfarmers Rural.

John holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New South Wales and an MBA from Macquarie University. 

Michele Genini, General Manager Australia and New Zealand, Elanco Animal Health
Michele Genini currently serves as General Manager Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) for Elanco Animal Health. In this role, he is accountable for the achievement of the commercial objectives in ANZ.

Michele joined Lilly in September 2003 in the Swiss Affiliate as a Business Unit Manager. In 2008 he was appointed Six Sigma Black Belt for Europe where he spent 16 months before moving to Oslo, Norway as Country Manager. In May 2011 Michele moved to Bangkok as General Manager for Thailand. Michele joined Elanco ANZ in January 2014. Michele has a degree in Natural Sciences from the Swiss Federal School of Technology in Zurich and a doctorate in Molecular Biology from the same school. In 2009 he completed the Advanced Management Program from the IESE Business School in Barcelona.

Conference sponsors: