Australian Dairy Conference

Program 2016 

Please download a copy of the most up to date program here.





Sam & Mark Billings
Mark and Sam Billing dairy farm together as Craiglands Partnership in Victoria’s South West at Colac.  Their operation includes a number of staff ranging from permanent through to casual.  Mark and Sam believe that to run a successful business, the team that supports it must be strong and adaptable.  The staff at Craiglands are encouraged to increase their potential through the provision of a number of training avenues, which results in having staff that are engaged in the business and take pride in their work.  Mark and Sam encourage their staff to be actively involved in the running of the business through opportunities to provide feedback, be involved in problem solving, and assist with some task setting. 

Cameron Clark
As a senior research fellow in the University of Sydney’s Dairy Science Group, Cameron is heavily involved in research associated with the integration of the farming system and technology such as automatic milking systems. In particular, Cameron’s experience as a farm systems scientist in New Zealand is helping to pave the way to turn the increasingly large amounts of data generated by dairy systems into meaningful information to improve farm productivity, profitability and animal health. Cameron works closely with farmers and domestic and international research institutes to develop novel systems and solutions for current and emerging industry needs and issues.

Dr Sandra Eady
Dr Sandra Eady is a Principal Research Scientist based at Armidale, NSW, with CSIRO Agriculture. Dr Eady is a geneticist with expertise in developing national breeding programs and implementing them on-farm. Her current activities, in CSIRO Agriculture, expand her expertise in farming systems to the area of life cycle assessment, determining the carbon and water “footprint” for agricultural products, on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions profiles and opportunities for biosequestration of carbon in the land sector.

Sandra has also completed a number of lifecycle assessments (LCA) for agricultural products including 4 beef production systems, 2 sheep systems, a wide range of broad acre crops, and live export cattle from northern Australian to Indonesian feedlots. This background gives her good insights into Australia’s agricultural export supply chains and the evolving environmental and animal welfare trends that are impacting agricultural production in Australia. She is currently working with industry to help define environmental benchmarks to ensure market access for products, such as oilseeds for the EU bio-fuel market.

Dr Eady’s work over the last 5 years has involved the evolution of large integrative projects that take a systems approach to national challenges and require a sound understanding of how Australian agriculture works from the farm to national scale, and in a global context.

Alexandra Iljadica
With a belief in her generation’s ability to contribute to positive change in the food system, Alexandra co-founded the Youth Food Movement (YFM) Australia in 2011 with Joanna Baker.  YFM is a nationally reaching not-for-profit organisation growing a generation of young Australians who have the capacity and motivation to support and demand a healthy and secure food future. To achieve this, YFM creates local volunteer powered food education projects, complemented by larger projects at a national level - often collaborating with industry. To date, YFM has run over 36 projects, created with an estimated 32,000 hours of volunteer time, engaging over 16,000 young people in the process.

While growing YFM, Alexandra has worked in various research roles at the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and the Australian Red Cross. Most recently she she managed and delivered collaborative research projects for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program at the University of Sydney Business School. This saw her work with Australia’s most remote Indigenous community, support disability enterprises as they shift operations in light of the NDIS, and identify the entrepreneurial attributes of Australia’s small book publishers.

Alexandra has been nominated as a Woman of the Future by the Australian Women’s Weekly and identified as a Top 20 Young Global Food Leader by American based organisation Food Tank. She is regularly invited to share her vision for a sustainable food future at events such as G(irls)20 and Rabobank’s F20.

Barry Irvin
Barry Irvin is Executive Chairman of Bega Cheese. After a period of time in the banking industry Barry returned to his dairy farming roots in the Bega Valley in the early 1990’s, and immediately became involved with the Bega Co-operative Society where he became Chairman in the year 2000. When Barry joined the business the Co-operative operated from a single manufacturing site, produced 3,500 tonne of cheddar cheese, sold only in the domestic market, and employed around 80 people in total.

Barry has a long affinity with the dairy farmers supplying the company and a firm belief in the value of strategic vision and stability being enhanced through shareholders and staff sharing a long term history and corporate memory of the organisation. Barry equally believes in the importance of the encouragement of growth, and the development of new intellect within the business.  Social responsibility is something that Barry seeks to imbed in all organisations in which he is involved. Barry chairs the Sydney based Charity, Giant Steps, which provides services to children and young adults with Autism.

Barry was recently given the high honour of being made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to the dairy industry and children with disabilities, he was also named NAB Monash University Agribusiness Leader of the Year in 2009 and Rabobank Agribusiness Leader of the year in 2011.


Anna Kelly
Combining her passions of farming, livestock, meat retail and people, Anna brings lamb brand Plains Paddock straight to your plates. The business started in 2007 as the "Big" drought was drawing towards a close. Anna left her self started horticultural company in Melbourne and headed back to the family farm. With not many environmentally sensible farming options left, Anna chose a very suitable breed of sheep, the Dorper, and started her small lamb business.
Welfare of her animals is the number one priority and Anna goes to great lengths to ensure that her sheep receive the best possible care from the day they are born. Low stress stock handling techniques and not resorting to use of sheep dogs or long journeys in trucks are some of the practises Anna has in place.

Neil Lane
Neil Lane has a life long association with the dairy industry, which began growing up on his parents Gippsland dairy farm. Through 15 years with Intelact Neil developed a reputation for his whole farm systems and profit focused approach to farm consultancy. In addition to working with individual farmers, discussion groups and milk processors, he has consulted to numerous industry feedbase projects, working alongside some of the industry’s leading dairy researchers. Over the past 5 years Neil has conducted various detailed farm profit analysis of industry data sets from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. For the past 18 months Neil has held the position of Program Manager – Farm Business Management Capabilities at Dairy Australia. In this position Neil is responsible for overseeing DairyBase, farm business management capability building program and various farm business management tools.

Janet Moxey
Janet Moxey began her interest in farming in 1976 when she and her late husband Paul married, and moved to the Forbes area where they ran a mixed farming operation as part of the family business.
In 1984 Paul, Janet and three young children returned to the family dairy at Richmond.

Janet became involved in agri-politics in 2001 following Paul’s death. Since then she has held numerous positions including Chairman of the NSW Farmers’ Association Dairy Committee, member of the ADF Board, first female Vice President of NSW Farmers’ Association and a member of numerous State Government Advisory Councils including Chairman of the NSW Dairy Industry Council and a member of the Tocal Advisory Committee.

 Moxey Farms, a family operated dairy near Gooloogong, NSW, milking 3800 cows, farming 3500 hectares. The dairy, farming and transport businesses provide employment for over 100 people.
Janet moved to Gooloogong in 2007 when the family purchased a property adjoining The Angle. In July 2015 Moxey Farms became partners in the business alongside the Perich Group, Freedom Foods and New Hope Group. Janet is proud to work alongside her three children and their partners, providing support where needed. Janet enjoys entertaining at home, her grandchildren and travel.


Chris Norman
Chris Norman has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) in northern Victoria, Australia, since mid-December 2009.  The Goulburn Broken CMA is one of the largest of 56 such regional Natural Resource Management bodies in Australia with an annual budget of over $60 million.  Over the past few years the Goulburn Broken CMA and their partners have established one of the largest on-farm irrigation upgrade projects in Australia’s history as well as delivering the biggest environmental flows seen down the Goulburn and Murray Rivers. 

In this role Chris also represents Victoria on the National Organisational Performance Excellence Working Group, as well as participating in various Steering Committees, including for the Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy and 5 year Victorian Catchment Condition Report. In 2014, he was recognised as 1 of 10 Luminaries selected to recognise 20 years of Integrated Catchment Management in Victoria.

Dr David Nation
David is the CEO of Dairy Futures CRC, and has been managing research and agribusiness operations for the last 15 years.

David is responsible for a range of research investments to improve pastures and cattle for the dairy industry. The Dairy Futures CRC invests over $20 million annually and involves over 90 staff that work for research organisations as well as commercial partners. David’s vision is to drive major benefits for Australian dairy farmers through talented people, world class science, and building strong institutional support for agricultural innovation.

David’s current role gives a wide view of technologies on the horizon and trends that we need to know about.



Wayne Summerville
Jonesy’s Dairy Fresh is a family business run by Wayne, his wife Rhonda, sons David and Michael, daughter Melinda and five other employees. Wayne is a self-made farmer having previously worked for relatives and running an earthmoving business for some years.

At the moment Wayne has sheep, dairy cows and some cropping spread across five farms in Kerang (Victoria) and one farm in Mt Gambier (SA). “We have three dairies and we try to farm sustainably leaning away from chemicals and towards a more natural approach on the farm.” Wayne comments. The farms run Friesians and Jerseys for higher fat content. There are a thousand dairy cows plus some larger beef cattle and sheep.

“We calve all year round to keep the milk consistent and have the capacity to produce 10,000,000 litres per year off the three dairies, two of which are herringbones and one rotary in S.A”.


Sir Henry van der Heyden
Sir Henry is a career dairy farmer, starting out as a sharemilker before purchasing his first farm in 1985.

For 20 years Henry was one of the most influential architects of New Zealand’s dairy industry. New Zealand Dairy Group (NZDG) was the pacesetter in ideas and execution, and he was a key player in the creation of Fonterra as the New Zealand Dairy Industry came together and took over its own global destiny in a new and commercial form.

Fonterra has been transformed, with a structure which is delivering the dream of a global dairy powerhouse. Henry himself became Chairman in 2002, standing down a decade later in 2012.
One of Henry’s strong beliefs is shareholder engagement and shareholders feeling part of the Co-op, and he led the separation of governance and representation  at NZDG, and at Fonterra he led the establishment of the important Shareholders’ Council.

In addition, he is a Non Executive Director of many companies, including Chairman of Auckland International Airport, now New Zealand’s largest listed entity.

An understated person, and a “no nonsense” businessman, Henry is clearly a true visionary, who has overcome multiple obstacles to deliver the outcome we now see.
Henry was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and was knighted in 2009.

He intends to continue to “work” until at least 70, and one of his present motivations includes improving the social and commercial fortunes of Maori Iwi and he is Rabobank’s 2015 Leadership Award recipient.

David Williams
David is Managing Director of the Investment Bank Kidder Williams Ltd, which specialises in Mergers & Acquisitions and Capital Raisings in Agriculture, Food and Beverages.

He has advised many of Australia’s largest aquaculture, dairy, almond, sugar, grain, fruit and fertilizer companies as well as many multinationals.

He has been the Adviser to farmer groups such as the Victorian Farmers Federation and Queensland Grain Growers Association and various state governments on the privatisation of many of Australia’s Statutory Marketing Authorities. He has had wide and recent experience in dairy and is well known for being the long-time corporate advisor to Bega Cheese.

He is not just an Adviser; he is prepared to back himself. He bought the bankrupt salmon producer Tassal for $42m. He refinanced the company and listed it on the ASX turning the business around and merging it with its closest competitor to create Australia’s largest aquaculture company. Tassal is now capitalised at nearly $800 million.

He is also one of the largest owners of water in Tasmania, but he owns no lang. When the Tasmanian irrigation system faltered through lack of farmer interest he stepped in and bought all the remaining water to allow the scheme to progress.

Richard Westlake
Richard Westlake is the founder and director of Westlake Governance Limited, a New Zealand-based, globally focused, corporate governance advisory firm, and the developer and owner of the FICKS™ Governance Framework.

Richard has over 20 years’ experience as a Director and Board Chairman, and currently chairs Careerforce, the Industry Training Organisation serving New Zealand’s health, disability, social services and aged care workforce.

He has been the first independent director of the Dairy Goat Co-Operative (NZ) Ltd, the world’s leading exporter of goat’s milk infant formula, since 2009, and is a director of RCBC, one of the biggest banks in the Philippines.

Among Richard’s earlier roles, he was an independent director of Dexcel Limited, New Zealand’s dairy research organisation (the predecessor to DairyNZ). He was an independent director of successful government-owned Kiwibank Ltd for ten years from its establishment in 2002, and he has chaired New Zealand’s National Standards body, and several other companies in the private, government-owned and NGO sectors.









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