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Speakers Archives

Guest speakers are influential in the agricultural sector or among rural communities and are chosen for their preparedness and willingness to offer authoritative, frank and newsworthy commentary and perspectives on issues of current or emerging importance.

Speakers 2020

Friday February 28: Bushfires and budgets - what now for the economy? Former Labor Minister Dr Craig Emerson’s provided his thoughts on the impact of recent natural disasters on the Federal surplus and broader remarks on the economy and climate change. Click here for video

Friday June 5: Water policy, drought and the Murray-Darling Basin. The Hon. Melinda Pavey MP, Minister for Water, Property and Housing was our first virtual lunch speaker for 2020. With water flowing down the Darling River into the Murray for the first time in years, but the drought not over, what does it mean for irrigators and regional communities in NSW? And what policy changes will follow the recent report into management of the Murray Darling Basin’s resources? The Minister answered your questions about water policy in NSW. Click here for the audio. 

Friday July 3: Gazing into their respective crystal balls - what does the rest of 2020 hold for local farmers? Our latest webinar featured Scott Hansen, Director-General, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Phin Ziebell, Agribusiness Economist, NAB and Matthew Coulton, A/g General Manager – Water Program, Bureau of Meteorology, who shared their insights on what the remainder of 2020 holds for Australian farmers. Click here for the video.  

Friday July 24: The power of plants - the outlook for NSW horticulture. In this panel session, three industry experts answered your questions on whether the horticultural sector can remain resilient to the challenges it is facing for the rest of 2020 and beyond. Our presenters were: Matt Brand, CEO of Hort Innovation, Gerard Sippel, Head of Vegetable Seeds at Syngenta and Sally Murfet, Chief Inspiration Officer at Inspire AG. Click here for the video. 

Friday August 14: Fields of green and gold - has the NSW grains industry turned the corner from famine to feast? Iso-baking during the early stages of the COVID-19 lockdown saw supermarket shelves empty of staples such as flour, rice and pasta. While farmers claimed there were adequate supplies, after two devastating winter crop harvests across New South Wales, many wondered if this were true. In this webinar, three grain industry experts discussed what a spike in grain production will mean for farmers and the international outlook. Our presenters were: Robert Spurway – Managing Director & CEO, Graincorp, Cheryl Kalisch Gordon - Senior Grains & Oilseeds Analyst, Rabobank and John Minogue - Agricultural consultant and mixed broadacre farmer, Barmedman NSW. Click here for the video.
Friday September 4: Future of the Murray-Darling Basin. Following a number of recent reviews and reports, the Hon Keith Pitt MP, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, made some significant announcements to Farm Writers on the future of the Murray-Darling Basin, home to around 2.4 million Australians and an ecological and economic powerhouse of the nation. Click here for the video
Friday September 25: Spinning a tale of bolls and bales - the outlook for natural fibres. Given China is Australia's biggest market for natural fibres, what has been the impact of this year's trade tensions on our wool and cotton markets, and what's the longer-term outlook? In the final webinar in Farm Writers’ series looking at some of the key commodities in NSW, we were joined by Robert Ryan– Managing Director and Chairman, Schute Bell Badgery Lumby and Adam Kay – CEO, Cotton Australia for a discussion on how drought, bushfires and COVID-19 have affected prices, production and processing. Click here for the video.

Speakers 2019

Friday 22 February: What does the banking royal commission mean for rural, regional and agricultural communities? The relationship between a farmer or their bank is vital to the strength and wellbeing of our rural and regional communities. Anna Bligh AC, CEO, Australian Banking Association addressed Farm Writers about  the changes banks are already making to strengthen this relationship and improve protections for customers. She also provided a recap on the recent Royal Commission Final Report and what it means for our rural services industry. Click here for the video.

Monday 18 March: NSW Primary Industries Portfolio Debate - Farm Writers hosted this Debate in the lead up to the State Election. The Hon. Niall Blair MLC, Minister for Primary Industries, Regional Water, Trade and Industry and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council went head to head with the Hon. Mick Veitch MLC, Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Rural Affairs, Lands and Western NSW about who has the best plans and policies to make agriculture prosper in NSW. Click here for the video. 

Friday 31 May: Rice - should we or shouldn't we? Chairman of SunRice, Laurie Arthur answered this question at Farm Writers and argued why rice is a valuable crop for Australia and those who choose to grow it, and how Riverina farmers have evolved to be regarded as the most efficient rice growers in the world. Click here to watch the video. 

Friday 28 June: Is the future for beef in Australia rosy or rubbish? Troy Setter - Chief Executive Officer: Consolidated Pastoral Company about how the beef industry is being impacted by foreign investment, general market confidence and vertical integration, as well as alternative and competing protein sources. Click here to watch the video.

Friday 30 August: Agriculture versus activism – is war the only option? Rowan McMonnies, Managing Director of Australian Eggs shared his hands-on experience in navigating welfare and community engagement issues along with cross-sector initiatives to build community and sector confidence. Rohan argued the pros and cons, and outline his views on what agriculture should be doing to meet community expectations. Click here to watch the video.

Friday 27 September: Competition or concern? Landmark’s plans for the future. Rob Clayton, Managing Director - Landmark Operations addressed Farm Writers about his plans for the new-look Landmark-Ruralco company, including the future for the CRT brand and businesses in regional communities? As of October 1, Landmark - a division of Canada’s Nutrien - now controls 45 per cent of the agricultural merchandise marketplace in Australia. Click here to watch this video. 

Friday 25 October: African swine fever: a threat or an opportunity. Margo Andrae, CEO Australian Pork Limited addressed Farm Writers about the potential threat to Australian Pork Production and how the industry is preparing itself should African swine fever reach our shores. Click here for video.

Wednesday 11 December 2019: Farm Writers Christmas Lunch, hosted by our Patron, the Hon. Adam Marshall MP - NSW Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW and featuring the 2019 NSW Farmer & Young Farmer of the Year Awards at NSW Parliament House. Click here for video.

Speakers 2018

Friday April 27: Innovative Food Logistics - The Dutch Experience. Netherlands’ Consul-General in Sydney, Frank van Beuningen discussed the way the Netherlands is leading the world in the production of high value, fresh produce and how it has developed innovative solutions to move food efficiently from the paddock, or greenhouse, to plates all around the world. Click here for video. 

Friday May 25: Agricultural Policy – Looking forward, looking back. Mick Keogh, outgoing Executive Director, Australian Farm Institute addressed Farm Writers to discuss some of the significant changes that have occurred in policy issues impacting on Australian agriculture over the last fifteen years, and what policy changes will be required into the future. Click here to view video.

Tuesday July 10: Seeds of Science - why we got it so wrong on GMOs. Mark Lynas addressed Farm Writers to detail his story of the fight for and against genetic modification in food.  Mark is a former activist who's been on the front line of both sides of the argument. Click here to view the video.

Thursday August 30, Federal Leaders Address: A special Federal Leaders Address with The Hon Michael McCormack MP, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport & Leader of the Nationals who addressed Farm Writers' on how stronger regions make for a stronger Australia and his vision for rural and regional Australia. Also joining the Deputy Prime Minister was the Deputy Premier of NSW the Hon. John Barilaro MP. Click here to view the video. 

Friday September 21: Roger Fletcher, Managing Director of Fletcher International Exports discussed a range of topics from free trade agreements, drought support and the current outlook for the Australian wool and sheepmeat sectors. Click here to watch the video.

Wednesday December 5: The 2018 Farm Writers Christmas Lunch & announcement of the NSW Farmer of the Year was held at Parliament House. The lunch was hosted by our Patron, the Hon. Niall Blair MLC - NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Trade & Industry and Regional Water. A video of the Ministers speech can be viewed here. A video of the NSW Farmer of the Year finalists can also be viewed here.   

Speakers 2017

December 11: Farm Writers Association of NSW Christmas Lunch and announcement of the 2017 NSW Farmer of the Year. The event was hosted by our Patron, the Hon. Niall Blair MLC, Minister for Primary Industries. A video of the Minister's speech can be viewed here and a video of the NSW Farmer of the Year, Mike and Velia O'Hare can be viewed here. The Minister also spoke about the importance of the NSW Farmer of the Year Award prior to the event. This can be viewed here

Auguts 24: Bridging the divide between city and bush and regional sustainability. With NSW in the midst of an unprecedented amount of capital expenditure on infrastructure projects; new roads, rail, water security projects and airports are some of the major infrastructure projects planned that will drive productivity growth right across the NSW economy. Graham Bradley AM, Chairman of Infrastructure NSW provided an information question and answer session that was facilitated by Meredith Paynter, Sector Leader for the Food and Agribusiness sector practice at King & Wood Mallesons. The video can be viewed here

June 27: The NSW Budget - and what it means for Rural and Regional NSW. Farm Writers' hosted a stellar line up of speakers involving The Hon. Niall Blair MLC, Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Regional Water, Minister for Trade & Industry, Scott Hansen, Director General - NSW Department of Primary Industries , Richard Bull, Chair of Local Land Services, Matt Brand, CEO - NSW Farmers to explore what the NSW budget means for regional and rural NSW.The session was moderated by Brad Cooper, Fairfax Group Managing Editor - Agricultural Publishing. Panel session can be viewed here.

March 31: Farm Writers hosted a Panel Discussion Biosecurity: National Strategies & International Challenges. The panel comprised of Dr Helen Scott-Orr (Australia’s inaugural Inspector-General of Biosecurity), Mellissa Wood (General Manager of Global Programs at the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research) and Lucinda Corrigan (Director of Rennylea Pastoral Company). The Panel was chaired by Sarina Locke (ABC Rural national reporter). Panel discussion can be viewed here. Individual speeches can be viewed by clicking on Panellist’s name.

April 28: John Dunn, CEO Egg Farmers of Australia, the newly formed national representative organisation for Australian Egg Farmers representing over 9% of Australia’s egg production discussed the engagement that is currently being undertaken with state governments on the Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the poultry industry. Part 1 can be viewed here and Part 2 here.  

Friday 26 May, Barry Irvin - Executive Chairman, Bega Cheese addressed Farm Writers on the on the current state of play in the Australian Dairy industry and the future direction of Bega Cheese. His speech can be viewed here

Speakers 2016

March 4: Andrew Spencer, CEO – Australian Pork Limited. Andrew Spencer discusses the work Australian Pork Limited are conducting around research, development and marketing with a particular focus on Asian marketing strategies, traceability and product differentiation. Part 1 and Part 2

May 27: Rowan McMonnies - Baker & McKenzie. ‘Agriculture and the Belle Époque for Competition and Consumer Protection policy’ – Rowan discussed a range of current market issues regarding competition and consumer protection in the agriculture sector including merger control, misuse of market power and consumer protection following the decision of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to add a dedicated agriculture resources unit. Part 1 and Part 2

July 8: Alison Penfold, CEO – Australian Livestock Exporters' Council (ALEC) addressed Farm Writers on the significant gains made in animal welfare such as high tech traceability and the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System;  comments with regard to five years on from the Federal Government suspension of live trade to Indonesia and views on the future of this market opportunity; the growth of Asian cattle markets in particular the recent China live trade agreement providing unprecedented market access for Australian cattle and her thoughts on new opportunities and markets and social media and its influence on the industry. Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

August 19: Farm Writers 50th Anniversary Lunch - Strangers Dining Room - Parliament House. Life Member, Stuart Hutton dug back through the archives to provide an overview of Farm Writers 50 years. The working title for the first meeting with the Jumbunna Club and membership was restricted to working journalists, and membership fees were $1. Click here for Stuart’s recap on the first 50 years.

Patron of Farm Writers, the Hon. Niall Blair MLC, Minister for Primary Industries also acknowledge the role Farm Writers has played in fostering communication about and promoting the interests of rural and regional NSW. Click here to watch the Minister’s speech.

October 21: Adam Kay, CEO – Cotton Australia addressed Farm Writers Part 1 Part 2

December 8: The Hon. Niall Blair, MLC - NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water & Deputy Leader of the Nationals. Part 1 Part 2

Speakers 2015

February 20: Major General, The Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO(Mil), CVO, MC(Retd) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 View a copy of General Jeffery's speech here

March 2: 2015 NSW Primary Industries Portfolio Debate. The Hon. Katrina Hodgkinson, MP Minister for Primary Industries went head to head with The Hon. Steve Whan, MLC Shadow Minister for Resources and Primary Industries on who has the best plans and policies to make agriculture prosper in this state. The Debate was facilitated by Peter Fray, Deputy Editor, The Australian. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

May 13: Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture discussed what was in the Federal Budget for Agriculture Part 1 Part 2A transcript of the Senator's speech can be viewed on his website by clicking here.

June 5: What do the new Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) rules mean for purchases of agricultural land and agribusiness. Panel included Fiona Simson (President - NSW Farmers), Malcolm Brennan (Partner - King & Wood Mallesons), Nick Gill (Director - Agricultural Real Estate – Funds Management, Challenger Limited). Panel discussion was facilitated by Andrew Marshall (Associate Editor - The Land). Part 1 and Part 2 can be viewed here.

July 31: Matt Brand, CEO of NSW Farmers addressed Farm Writers about how a unified and streamlined model of farmer representation in Australia would look. Part 1 Part 2 and Part 3 can be viewed here.

October 12: “Why Australian? – Innovation from Fork to Farm” - Monday October 12. This event was hosted by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists and the Rural R&D Corporations at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. The panel included Mick Keogh, CEO - Australian Farm Institute, Edwina Beveridge - Pork Producer, Blantyre Farms, and Member, NSW Primary Industries Ministerial Advisory Council, Dr Ben McNeil - Founder and CEO, Thinkable.org, Markus Rediger - President, International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, Georgia Twomey - Rabobank, Commodity Analyst, Dr Robert Fitch - University of Sydney. The webcast can be viewed here

October 23: "Australian grain industry: the view from within" - GrainCorp Managing Director and CEO, Mr Mark Palmquist addressed the Farm Writers Lunch on Friday October 23. Mark's speech focused on diversification and consolidation, supply chain investment and the fight for customer relevance. Part 1 and Part 2 of Mark's speech can be viewed here.

November 27: "Growing the Gourmet Pie: How consumer preference is shaking up the agri-food sector" - Gary Dawson the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Food and Grocery Council addressed the Farm Writers. Part 1 and Part 2 can be viewed here. 

December 9: Farm Writers Christmas Lunch and announcement of the 2015 NSW Farmer of the Year. Our Patron, the Hon. Niall Blair, MLC - NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water provided an overview of the previous twelve months and the Government’s agenda for 2016. Part 1 and Part 2 can be viewed here. 

Speakers 2014

October 31: Richard Norton, Managing Director - Meat and Livestock Australia Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

September 26: Greg McNamara, Chairman NORCO Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

August 29: Mark Allison, CEO Elders Limited Part 1 Part 2 

July 25: The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Minister for Agriculture Part 1 Part 2

June 27: Mitch Hooke on 'Understanding Political Capital and how to make the most of it in the long term' Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

May 30: John Corbett, Director Hassad Australia Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

February 28: Malcolm Brennan, King & Wood Mallesons Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Speakers 2013

November 26: Mike Logan, CEO DairyConnect

September 27: Greg Hywood, CEO & Managing Director Fairfax Limited Part 1 Part 2

September 6: Jed Matz, CEO Cattle Council of Australia Part 1 Part 2

August 29: Special pre-election breakfast, The Hon. Warren Truss MP - Leader of the Nationals Part 1, The Hon. John Cobb -  Shadow Agriculture Minister MP Part 1 Part 2, Senator The Hon. Richard Colebeck - Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry Part 1

July 26: Alison Watkins, CEO & Managing Director GrainCorp Pty Ltd Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

June 28: Dr John Keniry, Commissioner Natural Resources Commission Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

May 31: Duncan Fraser, President National Farmers Federation Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

April 19: Colin Bell, Bell Potter

March 22: Mick Keogh, Executive Director - Australian Farm Institute

March 1: Dr John Williams, former Commissioner Natural Resources Commission

Speakers 2012

November 30: Stuart McCullough, CEO Australian Wool Innovation Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

October 26: Chris Aucote, President Australian Grain Exporters Association

September 28: Tim Jelbart, Colliers International

On video Part 1  Part 2

August 31: The Hon John Cobb MP

On video Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

June 29: Scott Hansen, CEO Meat and Livestock Australia

On video Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

April 27: Craig Knowles, Chairman of Murray Darling Basin Commission

On video Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

March 29: Kevin McBain, CEO of Inghams Enterprises

On video Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

February 24: Ian Zandstra, Chairman of Dairy Farmers Milk Cooperative.

On video.  Part 1   Part 2   Part 3


Speakers 2009

Speaker Marco Ferroni
Position/Organisation Executive Director, Syngenta Foundation
Topic What can Australia do to feed nine billion people (and counting)? (1.19MB PDF)
Date 27/10/2009

Speakers 2008

Speaker John Porter
Position/Organisation CEO Austar
Topic NSW Farmwriters annual Media Leader Address (90KB PDF)
Date 31/10/2008
Speaker Mike Guerin
Position/Organisation Managing Director Elders
Topic Bulls in the future for Elders? (1.1MB Power Point)
Date 29/08/2008
Speaker Richard Koch
Position/Organisation Managing Director of ProFarmer Australia
Topic Are the days of cheap grain over?
Date 24/04/2008

Speakers 2007

Speaker David Kirk
Position/Organisation CEO of Fairfax Media
Topic Fairfax Media and their Next Frontier (40KB PDF)
Date 23/11/2007
Speaker Hon Peter McGauran
Position/Organisation Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Forestry
Topic Strengthening Australian Agriculture: The Coalition’s Agriculture Policy Launch.
Date 13/11/2007
Speaker Senator Kerry O’Brien
Position/Organisation Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Forestry
Topic Labor’s vision for Australian Agriculture (100KB PDF)
Date 26/10/2007