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Board Member profiles

Mark Grossman, Chair - Barossa and Light

Mark represents the Barossa and Light region and has been an Angaston Ag Bureau member since 1982 where he held all office positions.
He operates a family primary production partnership in the Angaston and Sedan regions with enterprise including sheep (self-replacing merinos, 1st cross ewes, prime lambs and operating Koonawarra white Suffolk, border Leicester and Poll Dorset studs) cattle, cropping and viticulture.
Other community involvement includes board member of Australian White Suffolk Association and Vice President of Angaston AH&F Show Society.


Janette Ridgway, Treasurer - South East

Janette works on a diverse farming enterprise with her husband and son at Pine Hill, growing broad acre crops, gladiolus bulbs and sheep.
With a passion for agriculture, community and family, Janette is the Ag Bureau’s treasurer. She see her role on the Board to support the organization and its 65 branches to meet regularly to talk, grow, share and learn from one another. Janette belongs to her local Ag Bureau branch and understands how Ag Bureau membership benefits all farming businesses and their families.


Peter O’Neil - Hills, Fleurieu and KI

Peter has been farming beef cattle in the Parawa district for 30 years. Peter is a councillor on the Yankalilla Council, and has been a Rotary volunteer for more than 30 years, also serving as President during that time.
Peter has an extensive history of corporate governance as a previous Director and Board member for Weber Barbecues, Real Estate Institute of SA and Blaik O’Neil P/L.
Peter sees the Ag Bureau as an opportunity to advocate for a better relationship between Government and frontline producers.


Darren Kennedy - Riverland and Murraylands

Continuing a long family tradition in agriculture, Darren spent his early years on a wheat and sheep property on the Eyre Peninsula before his family moved to the Riverland. His school years meant coming home to picking oranges and grapes, and cutting apricots. Darren and his wife took over the vineyards from his parents and recently expanded into dried sultanas, and together they do their best to balance work with family and sporting commitments.
President of the Barmera Ag Bureau branch since 2014, Darren believes the Ag Bureau’s history and structure from the top of agricultural governance through to the full breadth of grass-roots communities make it the ideal vehicle for moving information and “giving voice to the non-activists within the rural community.”
Darren would like to see the full range of modern technologies utilised to support the growth and development of the agriculture industry and, as an active participant in lobbying for innovation and growth, Darren admires the Ag Bureau’s ability to affect change.


Bevan Oster - Mid North and Yorke Peninsula

A firm believer in making hay while the sun shines, Bevan has been farming on his family’s mixed enterprise farm, 5km from Petersville, since the time he left school.
He is married to Christine and they have two daughters and a son who also enjoys agriculture.
Bevan has ventured far and wide but always returned to his home turf and his time is now occupied with growing wheat, barley, lentils and hay, feeding sheep and cattle as well as marketing produce and maintaining anything that’s broken.
Working to foster a network of skills and information to bring technology and best practice to ABSA’s members and the wider farming community, Bevan says ABSA membership is good for the soil and great for the soul.


Clem Fitzgerald - Eyre Peninsula

Clem has been farming in the Kimba area since 1971 and he is a founding member of Buckleboo Farm Improvement Group. Over the years Clem has been a member of numerous agriculture groups including the Stockowners Association of SA and the South Australian Farmers Federation. Twenty five years ago Clem with his wife Sherryl and their son Leigh, implemented changes to their farm including no till and liquid systems with variable rate seeding to get the best out of their land, cropping and sheep.
Clem also spent time in local government as Mayor, served on the regional and state Local Government Association executive committee and the regional Natural Resources Management board. He chaired numerous committees at state and federal levels including the National Heritage Trust and he remains involved in contracting, mining and transport. Semi-retired, Clem is keen to direct more time into supporting the farming community.
Clem says ABSA provides great initiatives to support its branches and has a critical role in advocating on behalf of its 1300 members who cover diverse production and businesses across the state.


Ex-officio Board Members

Dr Rhiannon Schilling - SARDI

Raised on a mixed cropping and livestock property in the state’s Upper South East, Rhiannon is an agricultural scientist based at the Waite campus in the School of Agriculture, Food & Wine at The University of Adelaide. Rhiannon was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Plant Sciences in 2014 and her research expertise is multi-disciplinary, involving plant physiology and nutrition, molecular biology, soil science and remote sensing technologies.

At the forefront of a continually changing industry, Rhiannon is involved in various research projects funded by the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC), South Australian Grains Industry Trust (SAGIT) and Australian Government. Her primary research focus is to pyramid tolerance to multiple subsoil constraints into wheat to develop new pre-breeding lines with improved root growth in sodic soils with controlled greenhouse experiments and field trials throughout Australia.
Rhiannon contributes to research on dryland salinity, saline seeps and acid soils in SA using remotely piloted aircraft fitted with various sensors to non-destructively assess the performance of wheat varieties.
As an Ex-officio member of the board, Rhiannon is a direct link between Ag Bureau members and agricultural researchers at The University of Adelaide. She encourages members to make contact if they would like to discuss the latest in research findings or help guide the direction of future agricultural research to ensure it remains relevant and useful.


Tim Herrmann - DEW

Team Leader, Sustainable Soils, Department for Environment and Water
tim.herrmann@sa.gov.au Phone: 0407 953 274
Tim has worked in the area of soils, land management, landcare and natural resources management for more than 35 years. He currently leads the Sustainable Soils team in the Department for Environment and Water (DEW). The team is responsible for leading and developing strategies and projects that improves the health and sustainable management of soils in both the agricultural and broader landscape.
Key programs include soil protection, managing soil acidity, soil carbon and landscape productivity. The programs are delivered through partnerships with the agricultural industry, Landscape SA regions, grower groups, research Institutions, and other agencies.
Tim has represented DEW as an Ex-officio member of the Agricultural Bureau Board since 2014 and he says DEW values the partnership with the Agricultural Bureau of SA and their shared common goal to improve the sustainability of our natural resources and farming systems.


Brian Hughes - PIRSA

Brian is a Soil and Land Management Consultant who works out of PIRSA’s Nuriootpa Research Centre on a range of soil, and sustainable agriculture related projects. He is part of a sustainable agriculture team in PIRSA with staff regionally located across South Australia. An Ag Bureau ex-officio member, Brian connects with PIRSA staff where relevant issues are raised. He also co-ordinates and supports a range of partnership projects developed with the Ag Bureau and its branches to improve production or sustainability of farming enterprises.
Run by farmers for farmer, Brian believes the Ag Bureau is a great way for farmers to improve their knowledge and skills with credible and local groups focussed on agricultural issues and farm improvement.


Brett Smith - Rural Business Support

Brett Smith is the CE of Rural Business Support.  Brett Smith’s extensive agribusiness experience nationally has helped Rural Business Support (RBS) to diversify its brand through the development and delivery of new programs and services to build a strong and resilient agricultural sector.
Helping small rural and regional businesses be better equipped to withstand natural disasters, Brett has positioned RBS as a key player to support those farming families in need of extra assistance through the effective delivery of the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) in SA and NT.
With a passion for agriculture, Brett is an accomplished agribusiness executive with strong marketing and business development credentials having held key roles with Orica Ltd, Cropcare, Incitec Pivot Ltd, Elders Ltd and Penrice Ltd. Brett spent 15+ years working ‘on farm’ with primary producers across most sectors, providing technical and agronomic information to improve productivity and profitability.
Brett has a proven history of leading business strategic development, implementation and delivery through aligning internal teams and collaborative stakeholder engagement. Brett’s strong leadership qualities, business acumen, energetic and ethical approach and proven communication style has enabled outstanding results in service delivery.

Image on left

Ag Bureau Board, left to right:  Clem Fitzgerald, Bevan Oster, Mark Grossman, Darren Kennedy, Janette Ridgway, Peter O'Neil

Agricultural Bureau of South Australia
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Magill SA 5072

Contact

T: +61 8 8249 7581
F: +61 8 8364 2574
agbureau@ruralbusinesssupport.org.au

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