International Speakers

Dr Cynthia Grant
Soil Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Brandon Research Centre (retired)

Dr. Cynthia Grant worked as a soil scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Brandon Research Centre in Manitoba from the time she received her Ph. D. in Soil Chemistry from the University of Manitoba in 1986 until her retirement early in 2015. Her research and extension activities dealt with integrated management strategies for improved fertilizer use efficiency in cereals and oilseeds in varying environments and cropping systems across the prairies. Her focus has been on agronomic and nutrient management research that results in economically and environmentally sustainable farming practices. Cooperative studies addressed prediction of nutrient availability as affected by management and the interaction of nutrient supply and crop management practices with crop diseases, weed competition and soil microbial activity. She has had a particular interest in improving nutrient management practices for reduced tillage systems.

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Professor Ken Giller
Professor of Plant Production Systems within WaCASA, Wageningen University

Ken Giller is Professor of Plant Production Systems within WaCASA (the Wageningen Centre for Agroecology 
and Systems Analysis) at Wageningen University. Ken’s research has focused on smallholder farming systems in sub‐Saharan Africa, in particular on problems of soil fertility and the role of nitrogen fixation in tropical legumes, with emphasis on the temporal and spatial dynamics of resources within crop/livestock farming systems. He leads the large-scale initiatives N2Africa (Putting Nitrogen Fixation to Work for Smallholder Farmers in Africa – and NUANCES (

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David Chapman
Principal Scientist, Feed and Farm Systems Research Group, Dairy NZ

David Chapman is Principal Scientist in the DairyNZ Feed and Farm Systems research group, based at Lincoln, New Zealand.  David graduated B Agric Sci (Hons) from Lincoln University in New Zealand in 1978 and completed his PhD at the Grasslands Research Institute, at Hurley, and the University of Reading, in England in 1989.  He was a scientist and then science programme leader, in DSIR Grasslands and AgResearch, Palmerston North, New Zealand from 1979-1996.  From 1996-2010, David was Foundation Professor of Pasture Science at the University of Melbourne, Australia: a position he held until returning to New Zealand in August 2010 to take up his current position. David also holds an Honorary Professorial appointment at the University of Melbourne, and an Adjunct Professorial appointment at Lincoln University.

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Dr Tom Jensen
Director, International Plant Nutrition Institute, North America

Raised on a mixed irrigated farm in southern Alberta, Dr. Jensen received his B.Sc. in 1979, his M.Sc. in 1985, and his Ph.D. in 1996, all at the University of Alberta. His MSc thesis evaluated nitrogen fertilizer placement methods for no-till cropping. His Ph.D. thesis examined the effect of three till­age systems on the growth of cultivars of canola, barley, and field pea. From 1979 until 1982, he was a research agronomist in the Soil Science Section of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. He worked for Alberta Agriculture and Food from 1982 through 1995 out of Lethbridge and later Edmonton, primarily in soil conservation, specializing in conservation tillage research and extension. From 1995 to 2003, Dr. Jensen was Corporate Agronomist for Agrium Inc. in Calgary. After leaving Agrium he wokred as a regional agronomist with Agricore United, based in the Red Deer-Calgary area. He joined IPNI as Northern Great Plains Regional Director on May 1, 2007, working in this position until present.

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National Speakers

Mick Keogh
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

Mick Keogh grew up on a farm in southern NSW. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in agriculture, both obtained at the University of NSW.

His career has included periods of employment as a farm manager, a University researcher, an agribusiness consultant and an agricultural lobbyist and policy advisor.

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Caroline Welsh
Chair of the Birchip Cropping Group and partner in the family grain farm

Caroline Welsh is Chair of the Birchip Cropping Group (BCG), a farmer led research and extension organisation in the Wimmera Mallee region of Victoria. BCG specializes in on-farm research trials, variety trials, risk management, crop forecasting and managing climate variability for cropping and livestock farmers.

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Professor Timothy G. Reeves
Chair, Agriculture Forum – Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering
Former Director General of CIMMYT, Mexico

Tim Reeves is a graduate of the University of Nottingham (UK) and the University of Melbourne and has worked for over 45 years in agricultural research, development and extension, focussed on sustainable agriculture in Australia and overseas.

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Dr John Kirkegaard
Chief Research Scientist | Farming Systems Team Leader
CSIRO Agriculture & Food

John Kirkegaard is a Chief Research Scientist at CSIRO Agriculture, based in Canberra and Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia and Charles Sturt University.  He received his PhD from the University of Queensland in 1990 and his subsequent research has focussed on understanding soil-plant interactions to improve the productivity, resource-use efficiency and sustainability of dryland farming systems.

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Bill Long
Farmer, Farm Business
Advisor & Manager, Ag Consulting Co

Bill is a farmer and a farm business advisor and manager of Ag Consulting Co, a South Australian based agricultural consulting business established in 1996. The company provides agronomic and farm business management advice to farm businesses across SA and manages and conducts research and communication projects to growers on a range of agronomic and farm management issues.

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Tom Acocks

Riversdale is a family run dairy farm located at Rochester in Northern Victoria. Currently milking 850 cows across a land base of 1400ha and producing 8 million litres of milk annually.

Dairy production in the region faces many challenges, competition for land, labour and water resources to name but a few. The changing landscape for Riversdale and others in the region is fundamentally driven by the competition and cost of irrigation water. This has seen Riversdale move toward a system that must grow more fodder per megalitre used.

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Dr Peter Thorburn
Research Group Leader: Integrated Agricultural Systems
CSIRO Agriculture & Food

Dr Peter Thorburn is a Senior Principal Research Scientist and Research Group Leader in CSIRO Agriculture and Food. He has strong multidisciplinary interests in the dynamics of soil-plant interactions and a commitment to enhancing the sustainability of agricultural systems. He received a B.Agr.Sc for the University of Queensland, then an M.Phil from Griffith University and a Ph.D from Flinders University in soil physics and plant physiology. He started his career working for the Queensland Dept of Primary Industries, then joined CSIRO in 1996 to focus on developing and applying simulation models to understand soil and plant interactions in agricultural production systems

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The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Southern Farming Systems Agriculture Victoria

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