Changing faces at AFI

There have been a number of changes in personnel involved with the Australian Farm Institute over recent months.

Board Chairman Dr John Keniry stepped down at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) after having been involved with the Institute since its inception. John’s extensive experience and industry contacts will be greatly missed, and the Institute is extremely grateful for his contribution over the past nine years. David Anthony has taken on the role of Board Chairman.

Board member Mike Carroll also stepped down at the AGM. Mike has been a Board member over the last two years, but his expanding business roles have forced him to rationalise his involvement. Mike has been an enthusiastic and very supportive member of the Board, whose contribution will be missed.

Two new Board members were appointed at the Institute’s AGM, these are Jane Bennett and Andrew Spencer. Jane has extensive experience in the Tasmanian dairy industry and as a Board member of a number of organisations including the ABC. Andrew is currently the CEO of Australian Pork Limited, and has extensive agribusiness experience. Both will bring valuable insights and experience to the AFI Board.

The Institute’s Research Advisory Committee has also undergone a number of changes. Long-time members John Kennedy and Dr Ray Johnston have both resigned after long periods of service, and the Institute is extremely grateful for their generous contributions over many years. Replacing them are Dr Mal Wegener of the University of Queensland, and Dr David Sackett, CEO of Growth Farms Australia and formerly a Board member of a number of Co-operative Research Centres. Both will bring valuable experience and knowledge to the Committee.

In the news

In May, the Institute’s ‘Managing the future of Australian farmland conference’ and the release of the research report, Does Australia need a national policy to preserve agricultural land?, generated a great deal of media interest, including the articles:

‘Managing the future of farmland’ (24/05/12) in Stock and Land

‘Urban sprawl prompts call for local law change’ (30/05/12) by Sarina Locke on ABC Rural

‘Sprawl, mining bite into best farmland’ (28/05/12) and ‘Mining threat to farmland’ (30/05/12) in the Weekly Times Now

‘ “Reckless” with ag land’ (30/05/12) and ‘Save our soil: AFI report’ (6/06/12) in The Land

‘Urban sprawl, mining, reserves biting into best farmland’ (28/05/12), ‘Family farms resist pressure to expand’ (26/06/12), and ‘Call to consider US model and pay farmers to farm’ (30/06/12) by Sue Neales in The Australian

‘Threat to farmland from urban sprawl: report’ (28/05/12) by Alex Sinnott in The Warrnambool Standard

‘Land policy vital for food future’ (8/06/12) by Bobbie Hinkley in the Farm Weekly

‘The end of the family farm? 72% of family farms don’t earn enough to support the family on them’ (26/06/12) by Cara Waters in Smart Company.

Out and about

Recently the Institute’s Executive Director, Mick Keogh, has spoken at:

Rural Financial Counselling Service NSW Annual Conference, Bourke, NSW

Westpac Seminar, Wagga Wagga, NSW

East Gippsland Regional Landcare Carbon Farming Initiative Workshop, East Gippsland, Victoria

Mackay Rural Futures Forum, Mackay, Queensland

Southern Otway Landcare Network Carbon Workshop, Apollo Bay, Victoria

Murray Catchment Management Authority Sustainable Farming Systems for 2020 Seminar, Wodonga, Victoria

Macquarie Franklin Agricultural Advisors Dinner, Launceston, Tasmania

Watershed Landcare Climate Change Workshop, Mudgee, NSW

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia Public Practitioners Conference, Sydney

Australian Lot Feeders’ Association Carbon Workshops, Sydney and Brisbane

North Coast Regional Landcare Network Carbon Farming and Land Stewardship Information Days, Nambucca Heads, NSW and Wollongbar, NSW

Climate Change Workshop, Northam, WA

Department of Primary Industries Victoria Top Shelf Climate Science Forum, Swan Hill, Victoria

Municipal Association of Victoria’s Rural and Regional Planning Conference, Torquay, Victoria

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association Annual Conference, Launceston, Tasmania

NSW Farmers’ Association Annual Conference, Sydney

University of Western Australia ‘Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land and Agri-business in Australia: Challenges and Opportunities’ Industry Forum, Perth

Westpac Premium Beef Conference, Sydney

Australian Grain Industry Conference, Melbourne.

Annual Agriculture Roundtable Conference

Each year the Australian Farm Institute convenes a national conference to bring together farm and agribusiness leaders to consider and discuss some of the strategic policy issues of importance for agriculture. This year the Institute's Annual Agriculture Roundtable Conference will be held on the 13th and 14th of November at the Marriott Hotel, Brisbane.  

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