Plenary Speakers

Professor Stan Wood

Senior Research Fellow
International Food Policy Research Institute International Science and Technology Practice and Policy (InSTePP) Center
University of Minnesota;

Stanley Wood is a Senior Research Fellow at the (IFPRI) in Washington, DC. He joined IFPRI in 1995 and until 1997 was outposted to the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia working on impact assessment studies for regional agricultural research. Since then he has been based at IFPRI headquarters, where he led IFPRI's research on spatial analysis in a policy context. Since 2006, he co-leads IFPRI's new Strategy Theme 1 on the "Global Food Situation and Scenarios of Policy Risks and Opportunities." Before joining IFPRI, Wood served as an independent consultant to multilateral and bilateral development organizations on natural resource, land use and agricultural systems modeling, based in Libya, Italy and Indonesia. A British citizen, Wood earned his MSc in water resources development from the University of Birmingham, and his MSc in agricultural development from the University of London. In early 2007, Wood successfully defended his PhD thesis in Agricultural Economics, also with the University of London.

Dr Brian Keating

Chief, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.

With a disciplinary background in crop physiology, agronomy and plant nutrition, Dr. Brian Keating is an expert in farming systems science with broad experience researching sustainable land management. His work has included farming systems design and management, bioenergy in agriculture, soil and water management, and climate risk management. He is now responsible for strategic science development and planning across CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystem’s research programs, and also leads CSIRO's cross-divisional Agricultural Sustainability Initiative.

Dr Rod Lefroy

Regional Research Leader Asia
International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Vientiane, Lao PDR
Dr Rod Lefory coordinates CIAT research for development activities in East and Southeast Asia. These focus on reducing hunger and poverty through market-oriented and sustainable agricultural production systems for smallholders, linked to cassava-based farming systems and smallholder livestock production systems.

After a graduating from the University of WA and the University of York, UK, Rod started his international agriculture career in the early eighties as an agronomist in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. He ran research projects linked to SE Asian and Australian farming systems for more than a decade and in the mid-90s he moved to the acid soils network of the International Board for Soils Research and Management (IBSRAM), based in Thailand, and to CIAT in 2002. His major interests have been in cropping systems and soil nutrient dynamics, with necessary slippage into livestock systems, extension processes, and marketing.

Dr Huang Gaobao

Professor & Vice president
Gansu Agricultural University
Director of China Farming System Research Association
Vice Director of Multiple Cropping of China Agronomy Association

Dr. Huang Gaobao’s major interests have been in conservation tillage research in the rainfed areas on the Loess Plateau and oasis areas, water saving agriculture in inland irrigation areas, and multiple cropping. On Conservation tillage research, he started in early 1990’s, and later cooperated with Australian experts funded by ACIAR, undertaken the project titled as “Improving the productivity and sustainability of rainfed farming systems for the western Loess Plateau of Gausu province” from 2001. On multiple cropping, he developed intercropping skills in the areas with altitude higher than 1500 meters. At the same time, water saving agriculture research in inland irrigation areas started.

Prof. Beth Woods, OAM

Executive Director
R & D Strategy
DPIF Qld

Beth Woods worked in North Queensland before completing her D Phil in Agricultural Economics as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. She then worked with DPI Qld in the dairy, broad acre cropping, potato and horticulture industries. She was the inaugural director of the Rural Extension Centre (UQ) and Suncorp Metway Professor of Agribusiness at the University of Queensland in late 1997.

Beth has served on numerous industry committees and was Chair of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, the ACIAR and Drought Review Panel and was recently appointed chair of the Board of the International Rice Research Institute.

Beth Woods academic interests include supply chain management as a tool to improve innovation and competitiveness, and the rapid change occurring in supply chains of developing countries with which Australia has major trade interests.

Dr Mark Howden

Theme Leader - Australian Agriculture Transformed
CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems

Dr Mark Howden is a climate change and adaptation specialist and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). His work includes research into the impacts of climate variability and change on agricultural systems, the development of the national and international greenhouse gas inventories for Australia's agricultural sector and assessment of sustainable methods of reducing greenhouse emissions from agriculture. He works with industry and community groups to assess practical adaptation options for managing climate change impacts.

Dr Howden began his research career in 1981 in the NSW Soil Conservation Service before joining the Qld DPI as a pasture agronomist in 1987. In 1990 he joined the Bureau of Resource Sciences to lead their Land and Water Section. Dr Howden joined CSIRO in 2000 and is now leader of the Australian Agriculture Transformed theme.

Dr Peter Hayman

Principal Scientist, Climate Applications
South Australian Research and Development Institute

Peter Hayman is an agricultural scientist with an interest in applying climate information to dryland and irrigated farming systems. Since the early 1990s he has worked with farmers in managing climate risk on a range of projects in NSW, South Australia and The Philippines.

In 2007 he was awarded the Seed of Light Award by the Grains Research Development Corporation for communication of climate change information to the southern grains industry.

Barry Mudge

Barry Mudge is a fourth generation farmer from Port Germein, on the lower rainfall edge of the northern South Australian wheat belt. He manages a cropping/livestock family farming business which still includes the original land taken up by his great grandfather under closer settlement in 1878.

Barry has an Agricultural Economics tertiary background and worked as a Rural Officer in the Commonwealth Development Bank for several years. Since returning to the property in 1990, he has focussed on developing innovative methods to manage climate risk in a highly variable environment. He believes climate variability provides an opportunity for farming and sees an improved approach to managing risk as a vital part of developing more robust business practices.

Barry works part timewith Rural Solutions SA which involves development and delivery of risk management systems to other farmers.

Andrew Polkinghorne

Andrew Polkinghorne is a second generation farmer from Lock on Central Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. He manages a cropping and livestock farming business which has been developed from mallee scrub since the late 1960’s and now covers an area of 3,600 hectares.

Andrew has a Bachelor of Business and a Diploma in Farm Management (Hons). While managing the farm business, Andrew has worked as a Rural Financial Counsellor, a Farm Consultant and was General Manager Farm Services at Roseworthy Campus University of Adelaide for three years.

He has focussed on innovative farming methods to optimise production and manage climate risk in a variable environment. These innovations have included no-till, the integration of cropping and livestock and farm business management. He believes that climate variability provides challenges that need to be clearly understood, so profitable and viable farming systems can be developed to sustain farming business into the future.

Mick Keogh

Executive Director
Australian Farm Institute

Mick Keogh obtained a Bachelors degree in Wool and Pastoral Science at the University of NSW before manageing a beef cattle research station for several years and completing his Masters degree at UNSW.

Over the next eight years he was employed as an agribusiness consultant, participating in a wide range of industry- and government-funded consultancy projects, often as the lead researcher.

In 1992 Mick joined the NSW Farmers’ Association and was subsequently appointed General Manager, Policy. In that position, he was closely involved in a wide range of issues impacting on the farm sector at both state and national levels. He also authored a wide variety of publications on farm-sector issues.

In late 2003 he was appointed Executive Director of the Australian Farm Institute, a newly-established, independent policy research institute which researches strategic policy issues of importance to Australian farmers.

Dr Ross Kingwell

Principal Economist
Department of Agriculture & Food WA
Senior Lecturer
School of Agricultural & Resource Economics, University of WA

Dr Ross Kingwell is an agricultural economist with over 25 years experience in research and provision of policy advice. He has more than 55 published book chapters and articles in peer reviewed journals. His chief research interests involve farming systems research, risk management and farm-level analysis.

Jeanette Long

Ag Consulting Co.
Ardrossan SA

Jeanette Long is the National Project Manager of Partners in Grain (PinG), a project funded by GRDC to facilitate professional development opportunities for farming families. PinG has a particular focus on women and young people.

Jeanette also assists farming families to develop business plans and succession plans. She has an MBA (Agribusiness) and tertiary qualifications in agriculture and education. Jeanette is a qualified facilitator and has 15 years experience delivering rural business management training.

Dr Stan Cox

Senior Scientist
The Land Institute
Kansas, USA

Stan Cox is a highly engaging speaker with challenging ideas for modern agriculture. He is a plant breeder and agroecosystem researcher with a focus on developing perennial crops. He has a BS in agronomy from the University of Georgia and an MS and PhD in plant breeding from Iowa State University. He worked in the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA as a wheat geneticist for 12 years before later joining the Land Institute with the long-term aim of developing an agricultural system with the ecological stability of natural systems and a grain yield comparable to that from annual crops.

Neil MacLeod

Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Brisbane

Neil MacLeod works in the Rangelands and Savannas Program. His research supports sustainable resource management with a strong emphasis on landscape design processes, evaluating R&D impacts at the property enterprise scale, and balancing production and conservation goals.

Neil also works with ACIAR projects in South Africa, Indonesia and central China exploring options for integrating forages and improved cattle management into traditional small farming systems.

Jim Virgona

Senior Lecturer in Agronomy
Charles Sturt University
Wagga Wagga, NSW

Dr Peter Langridge

CEO Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics
University of Adelaide
Professor of Plant Science
University of Adelaide.

Graeme Hammer

Professor in Crop Science
Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit (APSRU)
School of Land, Crop and Food Sciences
The University of Queensland

Dr Graeme Hammer is listed in Thomson ISI (web of science) as one of the most highly cited authors in agricultural science.

His research includes physiological responses of crops and development of crop simulation models, application of crop and cropping system simulation in crop and system management, seasonal climate prediction and its use in improving agricultural systems and patial modelling methodologies and their application in commodity forecasting. He is a member of the scientific advisory boards of the Graduate School, Wageningen Agric. University, The Netherlands and International Research Institute for Climate Prediction (Columbia University, NY).

Dr Alan McKay

Principal scientist
Molecular Diagnostics Group, SARDI Plant and Soil Health.

Alan McKay’s group specialises in the development and delivery of DNA assays to quantify soilborne organisms.

The initial focus of the group was assays for the major soilborne pathogens of cereals. This has broadened to include assays for soilborne pathogens of potatoes and pasture legumes, beneficial organisms and indicators of environmental impact in marine sediments. Recently assays have been developed for a range of plants to use as research tools to study root architecture.

Mick Faulkner

Principal Consultant
Agrilink Agricultural Consultants
Penwortham, SA.

Mick has conducted research for the export hay industry since 1989 and has developed the protocols for conducting research in this industry. The research has been collaborative with growers, state and federal agencies and suppliers of processed hay to the Asian markets. AAC manages the Mid North High Rainfall Zone Trial Site, a showcase of innovation and natural resource management in the higher rainfall areas of South Australia. Mick is also a part owner of vineyards in the Clare Valley where premium grape production is the ultimate outcome.

Dr Pamela Zwer

Principal Plant Breeder
SARDI Field Crop Breeding.

Pamela ZwarDr. Pamela Zwer has a B. Sc. (Hons) and M. Sc. from Michigan State University and a PhD in Genetics from the University of California, Davis. She is oat Breeder and co-ordinator of breeding programs in SARDI responsible for research priorities in the oat breeding program and facilitating co-operative research programs with oat quality, doubled haploids and molecular markers. With consultant agronomist Mick Faulkner she produced the highly successful agronomy guide to Producing Quality Oaten Hay.