Forum - Australian Farms in 2015

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Tuesday 19th May, 2009

Farming in Australia faces unprecedented change in the coming five to ten years as the impacts of a drying climate, water constraints, rising energy and input costs and carbon emission trading are factored into the management of local businesses, both rural and non-rural. Whilst each of these will add to the challenges influencing farm productivity, profitability and sustainability it can be argued that they are significantly outweighed by the opportunities for agriculture in a world where food security is firmly back on the ‘radar screen’ of decision-makers.
Australia is uniquely placed ‘on the doorstep’ of Asia, where the demand for food is growing more rapidly than in any other region of the world. However, market demographics are rapidly changing and as Australian farmers seek to seize emerging opportunities, so too do our agricultural competitors in South America and elsewhere.
Overall, there will be mounting competition for the use of land, water, and other farm inputs to meet the potentially conflicting demands for food, fibre, energy, carbon sequestration, and environmental stewardship.
How will, and how should, Australian agriculture adapt to meet these challenges and opportunities? What will farms look like in 2015 as a result? Will family farms still predominate, or will corporate interests take over? Could we see energy production, and carbon sequestration on farmland outstripping food production? What skills do Australian farm managers need to survive and thrive in this era of change?



Mick Keogh

Executive Director, Australian Farm Institute Previously, General Manager Policy, NSW Farmers’ Association, Mick worked for ten years as an agricultural management consultant, for both private and public sector clients. He was a research offi cer at the University of NSW and obtained a BSc and MSc in agriculture at the University of NSW. He grew up on, and continues to be involved in, a mixed-farming enterprise based in southern NSW.

Mike Guerin

Managing Director, Elders
Mike Guerin, the former director of ANZ’s Pacific banking business, is a commerce graduate from Otago University NZ, and grew up on a subeconomic farm his father, a shearer and later ag-pilot, owned in New Zealand’s South Island. Twenty years of banking, many of them running the ANZ rural network up against Elders, gave Guerin an appreciation for the solid Elders business.


Ian McClelland OAM

Birchip Cropping Group
Ian McClelland is the inaugural chairman of the Birchip Cropping Group (BCG), which was established in 1993. The BCG has, during that period, become one of Australia’s leading farmer owned and controlled groups, dedicated to the mission of improving the prosperity of rural and farming communities in North Western Victoria. Ian runs an 8600 ha farm in partnership with his brother, Warrick, growing wheat, barley, canola, lentils, and the grazing of sheep and cattle. His interests lie in education, research and practical on-farm applications. He is a Council Member of Marcus Oldham College. He is an honorary Senior Fellow of the Institute of Land and Food Resources – Crop production, Melbourne University. In 1998 Ian was the winner of the Hugh McKay Innovators award for excellence in Agriculture and Resources. He was awarded in 2004, the Seed of Light award by the Grains and Development Corporation in recognition of outstanding research and communication in the southern grains region. In 2006 he was one of the recipients of the Centenary Medal awarded by the University of Melbourne, Land and Food Resources. In 2008 Ian was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division (OAM).

Lucinda Corrigan

Bowna NSW
An Angus cattle producer from Bowna near Albury in southern NSW, Lucinda and Bryan Corrigan run a progressive beef genetics operation from their base in the Murray Valley of NSW, and work with a large client base across Southern Australia. In addition to being a Director of Meat and Livestock Australia, Lucinda is a Director of the MLA Donor Company, an MLA subsidiary that invests in the supply chain. Lucinda is Deputy Chairman of the Cooperative Research Centre for Future Farm Industries. She is widely networked in research and development and farming systems across Southern Australia and vitally interested in the parallel development of business, human and environmental capital, in Australian rural landscapes. In 2007 Lucinda was awarded the Helen Newton Turner Medal for her contribution to Animal
Breeding and Genetics.

Nic Kentish

Mount Gambier SA
Nic Kentish was born in 1964 and raised on his family’s farm near Mount Gambier in South Australia. After leaving school, he set about pursuing a career that often led him “somewhere east of the sunrise”. A passion for livestock has been his driving force from jackerooing days on NSW, Qld and WA stations to overseeing a cattle development project in Vanuatu to head-stockman aboard livestock ships delivering sheep, cattle and goats to Middle-Eastern ports. Now settled back on “Greenbanks” with his wife, Alexi and three children, Nic grows beef, lamb and mixed vegetables organically. With their family and dedicated staff they have developed a unique farm environment around sustainability, harmony, ownership and succession. Combining his passions for livestock and people, Nic trains Low Stress Stockhandling Schools with zest, humour and feeling and a genuine endeavour to see animals and humans together realize their true potential. Since animals are simply good at being animals, Nic takes up the human challenge to share what’s possible if people can change. Nic has studied and practised cell grazing
systems, transition to toxic chemical-free farming, animal behaviour and stockmanship, family business meeting facilitation and catchment water management. These skills, combined with his positive attitude, generate new levels of achievements in his community.

Professor Tim Reeves

Professor Tim Reeves has worked for 39 years in agricultural research, development and extension, mostly focussed on sustainable agriculture in Australia and overseas. He was a pioneer of notill research in NE Victoria, whilst based at the Rutherglen Research Institute. His professional career includes positions in the Department of Agriculture, Victoria; Foundation Professor of Sustainable Agricultural Production, Adelaide University (1992-95) and Director General of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre based in Mexico (1995-2002). Recent roles include: Member, United Nations Millennium Project Task Force on Hunger; Chair, NSW Agricultural Advisory Council on Gene Technology; Member, European Commission Expert Group for Evaluation of Framework Projects; Chair, Academic Advisory Board on International Community and Development Studies, and Adjunct Professor, Deakin University; Professorial Fellow, Melbourne University; Chair, Board, Joint Centre for Crop Innovation, Melbourne University. He is a Board Director of GRDC and a former President of the Australian Society of Agronomy.


Downloadable Content


  Read the brochure - Australian Farms in 2015 Read the brochure - Australian Farms in 2015  (269 KB)

  View Ian McClelland Australian Farms 2015 Presentation View Ian McClelland Australian Farms 2015 Presentation  (931 KB)

  View Lucinda Corrigan's Australian Farms 2015 Presentation View Lucinda Corrigan's Australian Farms 2015 Presentation  (773 KB)

  View Mick Keogh's Australian Farms 2015 Presentation View Mick Keogh's Australian Farms 2015 Presentation  (927 KB)

  View Mike Guerin's Australian Farms 2015 Presentation View Mike Guerin's Australian Farms 2015 Presentation  (1502 KB)

  View Nic Kentish's Australian Farms 2015 Presentation View Nic Kentish's Australian Farms 2015 Presentation  (444 KB)