May 2018: Institute Activities

Published 1 May 2018


Founding Executive Director Mick Keogh will leave the Institute on 29 May 2018 to take up a full-time role as a Commissioner of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), with a focus on agricultural and small business issues. Mick has been working with the ACCC in a part-time capacity since February 2016.

The Board has appointed General Manager Research Richard Heath as the new Executive Director.

‘Under Mick’s leadership, the Institute has developed a strong reputation for credible and principled policy advice in agriculture,’ said AFI Board Chair, David Anthony.

‘Mick has nurtured the organisation from its inception through to its current position as the only independent Australian think tank specialising in agriculture. The Board is very confident that Richard and the AFI staff will continue to develop the role of the Institute in shaping policies that positively impact the sector.’

The team at AFI express their deep gratitude to Mick for his outstanding leadership and warmly welcome Richard into the new role. A full statement is available here.


The Institute has featured in media coverage across a range of issues, including: energy pricing in agriculture; unlocking production gains with digital agriculture; risk management options; drought support; action on climate change impacts; ag data ownership, and connectivity in rural and remote communities. For links to the articles, visit our ‘AFI in the news’ web page.

Recent Ag Forum blogs have generated both media attention and social media interaction. These included:

Read the blogs online in ‘Ag Forum’.

Social media continued to see a dramatic increase in engagement, boosted by involvement in key events. Tweets about ABARES in Canberra and the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in Chicago helped spike Twitter ‘impressions’ (ie views or clicks) to 124,400 in March; an increase of 1,417% on September 2017. The ‘Smoko’ video update is also proving popular and can be viewed via our social feeds.

This increased exposure helps the Institute promote research, encourage event attendance and consolidate our position as a thought leader on agricultural policy issues.


Senior staff spoke at many industry functions from February to April.

Executive Director Mick Keogh:

  • Herron Todd White Rural Property Updates, Melbourne and Brisbane
  • Australian Rural Leadership Conference, Melbourne
  • The Australian Global Food Forum 2018 panellist, Sydney
  • Indonesia-Australia Dialogue, Sydney

General Manager Research Richard Heath:

  • Energy Consumers Australia Foresighting Forum 2018, Sydney
  • AgTech Summit, Melbourne
  • GRAS Group Pre-season Planning Meeting, Gulargambone, NSW
  • The Land Next Crop Forum, Grenfell, NSW
  • 2018 World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit, San Francisco, USA

Senior Research Officer Katie McRobert:

  • Annual Conference of the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, Adelaide

Image:  Lillian Krikheli

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