2019 Speakers



Professor David Lamb
Grandfather of SMART Farm project; Chief scientist Food Agility CRC


David is a physicist who has worked in precision agriculture for more than 25 years and has led more than 40 industry-funded R&D projects. David established the University of New England's Precision Agriculture Research Group, and the internationally renowned SMART Farm project. David currently serves as Australian representative for the International Society for Precision Agriculture. He is Chief Scientist for Food Agility CRC. In 2016 he received the McClymont Distinguished Professorship (Research) at UNE in recognition of his ongoing service to agriculture innovation and research leadership.



Laura McBain
Managing Director Longtable Group


Longtable Group is an ASX-listed company with investment in Maggie Beer Products and owns B.-d.Farm Paris Creek and St David Dairy. Laura was CEO and Managing Director of Bellamy's Australia from 2014 to 2017, and Bellamy's CEO and General Manager since 2007. Bellamy's is Australia's leading producer and distributor of Australian made organic infant formula and baby food products. At Bellamy's, Laura oversaw significant change, innovation and business growth, including expansion into South East Asia and China. In 2013 Laura was named Telstra's Tasmanian Business Woman of Year and Telstra's Australian Business Woman of Year.



Ross Brown
Brown Brothers


Dinner keynote speaker: Prosecco, innovation and marketing a key to building a regional brand



Emma Germano


Emma Germano hails from Mirboo North, where she is Managing Director of her family mixed operation I Love Farms. On Gippsland's fertile red soils the Germanos grow fresh vegetables for local and export markets, as well as running sheep and beef cattle. I Love Farms has a firm focus on sustainability and strives to connect consumers with Australian farmers to increase community understanding of food and fibre production. Emma is the current VFF Horticulture Group President. She also sits on the Vegetable Industry Market and Value Chain Strategic Investment Advisory Panel and has previously held tenure on the Victorian Vegetable Growers Executive Committee and as the VFF Horticulture Group Vice-President. Emma is also a Nuffield Scholar (2014), her research examining global export opportunities for Australian primary producers.



Amanda Hill
CEO Dairy Food Safety Victoria


Amanda has a strong understanding of the food regulation system, and well-developed national and international networks. In her previous position at Food Standards Australia New Zealand, Amanda was responsible for development of primary production and processing standards, food safety standards and recall and incident management. She was also the Australian Delegation Leader to the Codex Committee for Food Hygiene. Amanda's background is in immunology, microbiology and molecular biology and involvement in science management in joint ventures between research, commercial and service delivery organisations



Dr. Rachelle Hergenhan
UNE SMART Farms Industry Engagement Manager


Rachelle joined the Farms in 2017 to provide support to the SMART Farms Managing Director in establishing and equipping UNE SMART Farms as a development and innovation site that provides the background and the opportunity for growing collaborative connections between UNE researchers and industries. Providing a conduit between researchers and industry with the Farms Rachelle aims to involve more researchers to make the most of the opportunities these Farms represent for industry research. With a research background in early lamb behaviour and impacts on lamb survival and undergraduate teaching experience in sheep and wool production, agricultural consulting and extension, Rachelle brings a range of knowledge and skills to this position.



Cameron Leeson
Founder thingc Robotic.


As founder & CEO of thingc Robotics, Cameron is excited to be working globally in the AgTech industry, building next generation farm machinery. Working with organic tomato growers (Northern Vic) to addresses labour issues, and resource use efficiencies (potentially with school robotics program). In his leisure time, Cameron supports Make-Create, the innovative makerlab he founded in 2013.



Dr Jamie Flynn
Hone - (previously Rapid Phenotyping)


With a background in medical research and deep technology development, Jamie has always had a passion for creating and sharing new technologies. He co-founded Hone to apply his skills to the exciting area of in-field chemical testing in Agriculture and hopes to improve the data legacy passed onto the next generation of farmers and land custodians. A mobile a hand-held chemistry lab which combines a light-based system and machine learning to conduct an array of chemical tests on the spot. - facilitating real time informed decisions. Eg analysis of grains for moisture, lipid and protein content, pH just to name a few.



Patrick Duffy
Former CEO & Founder of E Agri


A commercial and strategic leader with extensive international executive experience. E Agri has developed a world class vertical farming technology designed for urban food production in high density cities



Fiona Nash
CSU Strategic Advisor - Regional Development


Having grown up in Sydney, Fiona has spent the last couple of decades living and working in regional Australia. For many years she was involved in a farming enterprise in the central west, which her sons Will and Henry are now running. She spent twelve years in the federal parliament as a Senator for NSW and also held ministerial positions including rural health, and in Cabinet the positions of regional development, regional communications and local government and territories. She also held the position of deputy leader of the Nationals.



Krista Watkins


2018 QLD Rural Women's Award winner is a leader in agricultural innovation and the co-founder and managing director of Natural Evolution Foods, a world-first company specialising in green banana flour products. Now looking into sweet potato flour. Krista's long-term goal is to create a dreams factory, where rural and regional innovators can work together in a creative space to bring their ideas and visions to reality.



Roger Drew


Lupins for Life is creating a new market in Aus for this gluten free, incredibly high protein pulse. Products include flour, kibbled grain (used like a rice, quinoa etc) and Flakes. The first to develop and market lupin flakes globally, involved their own extensive R&D and technology development. Since 2016, they have built their own research and development facility and dedicated gluten-free mill. As a company, they know that innovation is the key to their success. Lupins For Life is a true paddock to plate story - they grow and trace their produce from planting to each and every package. Based in the Riverina region of New South Wales, every step is proudly local - supporting our rural communities.



Emma Elliot
Big Little Dairy Company


Bottling their own milk & cream, Emma built strong stories and consumer relationships around how they treat their animals. Single origin source (farm/ herd), sustainability, local community are all integrated into this. A family business across 2 generations that now provides employment for 22 local workers.



Warwick Powell
BeefLedger


Blockchain, Smart contracts, IoT traceability. This project is using blockchain and IoT to create an unbreakable, immutable record, tracking beef from paddock to plate, credentialing the provenance of Australian beef. This information will drive apps for consumers and suppliers, giving them confidence that their meat is 100% Aussie. Australian beef has a global reputation for quality, safety, animal welfare and has driven a corresponding increase in food fraud. Substituting products for something other than beef, substituting different cuts and labelling meat from other countries as Australian is becoming more common.



Iain Field
Tongola Cheese


Tongola Goat Cheese is an award winning and goat/beef (Leap Farm) producer in SE Tas whose priorities are happy, healthy animals, which they think makes their cheese taste better. They are committed to ethical and sustainable practices. Developing and integrating agtech specifically for small-medium sized producers to streamline business operations - from paddock to production to distribution to customer/market.



Hamish Crittenden
Fresh Supply Co.


Fresh Supply Co are a Marketing Technology Company for fresh food products. They collaborate with Producers and Retailers to solve how technology is playing into verification of provenance. Regional finger print, blockchain etc. and how it is underpinning provenance, premium margins for high value produce, provenance traced products, preventing food fraud and traceability.



Mayor Dean Rees
Mayor of Wangaratta City


Born and raised in Wangaratta to parents both in retail businesses before heading to Melbourne for 6 years to study and to work in the Real Estate field. He returned home to Wangaratta in 1995 to be closer to family and friends and opened his first Real Estate office. Throughout his time away he always appreciated the closeness of a small community and what a country lifestyle has to offer. After 20 successful years in Wangaratta he opened up the Rees & Rees lifestyle store in 34 Ovens Street to expand on his property development business and lifestyle loves.



Clive Larkman
VAC Chairman


Clive Larkman has been the Victorian Agribusiness Council's Chairman for 7 years, and has been Chair of Agribusiness Yarra Valley since 2006. As owner of Larkman Nurseries he has grown the medium sized propagation nursery producing 400 000 plants a year to one of the top specialist propagation nurseries in Australia with a production level of 2 million tubes per annum. From 2003 to end of 2005 Clive was a Councillor for the Shire of Yarra Ranges. He sat on many community, council and business bodies with the aim to enhance the quality of life in the Yarra Ranges.

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