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The Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program, supported by NAB Agribusiness, is an intensive five-day workshop conducted on the college campus at Geelong. The program, which commenced in 1992, is recognised as one of the longest running rural leadership programs in the nation. It has developed a strong reputation in the agricultural and agribusiness sector, attracting support from a wide range of industry and rural community groups from diverse regional backgrounds.

The industries represented include livestock grazing for meat and fibre, broad acre summer and winter cropping, dairy production, poppy production, cotton production, horticulture, apiary and a range of agribusiness support businesses.

With an average of approximately 35 participants per course, there are in excess of 780 graduates from the program across Australia. A number of these graduates are now representing their industries or rural communities at the decision-making level in the boardrooms of both community and industry groups.

The program will develop the skills and knowledge of participants to enable them to:

undertake a leadership role in their industry or community
competently represent their industry or community in decision-making forums
understand and address the issues facing rural industries and rural communities

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Program Leaders

David Cornish
Program Director, Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program
David has over 30 years experience in Agriculture Finance including roles such as Agricultural Economist, Agribusiness Marketing Manager and senior banking roles in regional NSW and Victoria for the National Australia Bank. He was the initial CEO of Rabo Financial Advisors and spent five years as a Farm Consultant with Mike Stephens & Associates focusing on agricultural investment opportunities for wholesale investment funds.
David has worked at Landmark as the Regional Manager for Western Victoria and then as a strategy manager for the organisation. Since 2012 David has consulted to agricultural investment companies supporting their farm investment strategy in Australia. In his spare time, he is involved in a family farming operation based at Casterton in Western Victoria. David is a full-time lecturer at Marcus Oldham, in Marketing and Business Communications.

Mike Stephens
Director, Meridian Agriculture

Mike is the founding Director of Meridian Agriculture a major agribusiness consultancy group with a client base in southern Australia.
Mike has 20 years’ experience in human resource management and provides consulting advice to major agribusiness companies. In addition to a large number of rural clients, Meridian Agriculture provides project management and training for a wide range of agricultural organisations including Meat and Livestock Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, Land and Water Australia and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
Mike is one of the founding members of Working with People Pty Ltd, which is experienced in delivering the Working In Groups (WIG) workshops for Meat & Livestock Australia. Over 2,500 people have been trained by the Working with People Company and their record in delivering the WIG’s program to a standard above all expectation, speaks for itself.
Mike has been involved in the design, delivery and management of the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program since it’s commencement

Fiona Chambers
CEO, The Wheen Bee Foundation

Fiona has 30 years business experience in the production and marketing of agricultural and horticultural commodities, both in Australia and overseas.
Before taking up the position of CEO with the Wheen Bee Foundation, Fiona lectured in business management and marketing at Marcus Oldham College in Geelong, Victoria.
As convenor of the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program and the Apple and Pear Australia Ltd (APAL) ‘Emerging Leaders’ Program, Fiona developed extensive networks across a range of rural industries throughout Australia.

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Rural Leadership Program 2018

The Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program, supported by NAB Agribusiness, is an intensive five-day workshop conducted on the college campus at Geelong. The program commenced in 1992 and is recognised as one of the longest running rural leadership programs in the nation. The Rural Leadership Program is run annually from the last Sunday of June each year.

Key Points

Where Marcus Oldham College
When Sunday 17 June 2018 to Friday 22 June 2018
Applications Close Friday 18 May 2018
Early Bird Discounts Close Friday 13 April 2018
More Information Nomination form


  MORLP 2018 Flyer MORLP 2018 Flyer  (2294 KB)

  Fairfax and ABIF Scholarship Flyer Fairfax and ABIF Scholarship Flyer  (205 KB)


Enquiries Program Enquiries - Jenny Hendricks

Ph: 03 5247 2901
Fax: (03) 5244 1263

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Defying the Drift Program

For more information on Defying the Drift 2017 please see

  Download the 2017 Defying the Drift Program Brochure Download the 2017 Defying the Drift Program Brochure  (1490 KB)