People on the Move: Appointments, retirements, achievements

Jon Condon, 09/06/2020

Beef Central publishes an occasional summary of appointments, departures and achievements occurring across the red meat and livestock supply chain. Send details for entries to

  • Vale Ken Rich
  • AVA welcomes new president
  • Herefords Australia elects first female chair
  • TopX appoints agent relationship manager
  • New appointment strengthens health and safety leadership in rural industries
  • MLA regional general manager for Japan & Korea
  • MLA’s new GM for communications
  • New deputy director at AGBU
  • Vale Dr Neil McMeniman
  • Angus Australia Northern Development Officer
  • PIEFA appoints new CEO

Vale Ken Rich

Much respected silage industry leader Ken Rich passed away on Friday, after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Ken will be missed by many across the agricultural industries of Australia, as well as those in New Zealand, Indonesia and China where he also frequently worked.

Ken Rich

A passionate agriculturalist, business man and road cyclist, his passion and deep knowledge about forage and silage and his contribution to the fodder conservation industry will be long remembered.

Ken was a pioneer from the 1990s in bringing the forage grower, user and contractor together. He became universally known throughout the Australian feedlot industry, as well as dairy and broader cattle sectors. Not only did he grow the Australian silage industry from the ground up, he helped introduce new technology including inoculants, sealing systems and ensuring specific KPIs for silage making delivered real value to clients across the Asia-Pacific region.

After building up his successful silage consultancy business, Quality Silage Systems, over many years, Ken and wife Trudy sold to Lallemand Animal Nutrition in 2012. Ken continued to mentor and advise others in the industry for years afterwards.

“Ken’s ability to network across the wide ranging agricultural sector was seriously impressive,” said Lallemand Australia manager Alex Turney. “With a network that spanned silage operations in Australia, China, New Zealand and Indonesia, it was a complete marvel how he knew so many people and retained such knowledge of them, as individuals, their families, and their businesses,” Mr Turney said.

“Ken had a particular knack for meeting people and finding out information to drive a business forward. His consistent development of ideas and concepts was astonishing,” he said.

“Ken will be long remembered for such a positive impact on people and agriculture, especially silage, across Australia and beyond.”

In light of COVID restrictions, the Rich Family will hold a private memorial event this week. Tributes can be made in the form of a card to the following address: Rich Family, PO Box 6096, Maroochydore BC QLD 4558. For those wishing to make a donation in Ken’s honour, click this link. 

A plan is being developed to celebrate Ken’s life as government restrictions allow. More details will follow.

AVA welcomes new president

Perth veterinarian Dr Warwick Vale is the new national president of the Australian Veterinarians Association, succeeding Dr Julia Crawford. Dr Vale has 30 years’ experience in large animal veterinary practise, with a passion in leadership, governance and clinical practice.

“As we work through these unprecedented times with bushfires and COVID 19, we are quickly establishing new ways of working through our digital platforms to provide continual veterinary education and ongoing communications,” Dr Vale said.

“With 2021 being the AVA’s centenary, we will continue to ensure that we anticipate the future needs of the profession and most importantly promote and advance veterinary science within our profession and the wider community.”

Dr Vale thanked the AVA’s immediate past-president Dr Julia Crawford for her leadership during a difficult 12 months. Dr Crawford will remain on the board for another year. Also joining the AVA board this year are Clermont, Central Queensland cattle vet Dr Alan Guilfoyle, and Dr Sally Colgan. Stepping back from the board are Drs Robert Johnson and Ken Jacobs, who have provided valuable guidance and assistance during their tenure.

Herefords Australia elects first female chair

Trish Worth from Kilkerrin Poll Herefords near Mount Compass in South Australia has been elected as the new chair of Herefords Australia – a first for a woman.

Trish Worth

At the first board meeting held after the recent Herefords Australia annual general meeting, Marc Greening from Injemira Beef Genetics, Book Book, NSW was elected deputy chairman.

While acknowledging that she was the first woman to hold the position, Ms Worth said there were women all over Australia heavily involved in the beef industry, with many through their own, or family businesses, breeding quality Hereford cattle.

Following careers in nursing, midwifery, pathology and ministerial responsibilities in the Howard government, Ms Worth was able to run her own Poll Hereford Stud, firstly at Blayney in NSW and more recently back in SA. One of her first priorities as president will be to have a fresh look at Herefords Australia’s strategic plan, and building on hard-won successes, she said.

Trish Worth, along with Tony Haggarty (NSW), Bill Kee (VIC), and Geoff Birchnell (NSW) were elected to the board in 2017, and have recently been joined by Sam Becker (QLD), Ian Durkin (NSW), Mark Duthie (QLD) and Marc Greening (NSW).

TopX appoints agent relationship manager

At the start of this month livestock and property marketing agency TopX Australia appointed Geoff Hickson as the company’s Agent Relationship Manager.

TopX Australia’s ten branches are independently owned and operated, with the head office servicing those branches in administration, marketing and business development and support.

Mr Hickson has been working behind the scenes with TopX for the past four years, consulting on the real estate side of the business and will now join the head office group in the newly created role to provide support, mentorship and management to the team of agents that make up the TopX network.

Originally hailing from Dirranbandi, he brings to TopX a considerabledepth of knowledge and experience, with a career in the stock and station agency business spanning 35 years. He has worked in locations including Cunnamulla, St George, Toowooomba and Mackay and as Landmark’s Real Estate Manager for Queensland and NT for six years.

TopX is excited to welcome Geoff into this new role and the team are looking forward to having him involved in the business, a company statement said.

New appointment strengthens health and safety leadership in rural industries

The appointment of associate professor Lyn Fragar as the new independent chair of the Rural Safety and Health Alliance (RSHA)* is a welcome decision by the cross-RDC alliance members and a boost to the profile of WHS in rural industries.

Lyn Fragar

Following in the footsteps of previous chair, Patrick Murphy, Prof Fragar joins the RSHA from a strong field of applicants from across agriculture, a good sign of the increasing recognition of health and safety as a key priority for the sector.

She is a former director of AgHealth Australia, a research centre of the University of Sydney and was instrumental in the establishment of the Australia-wide Farmsafe network.  A public health expert, she is the chair of the Hunter New England Local Health District Board, a director of the Board of Directors GP Synergy Registrar Training Service and tutors Sydney University Medical Students in Population Medicine.

In 2002, Lyn received the award of Officer of the Order of Australia for pioneering service to rural health care and farm safety in Australia.

In accepting the appointment, Lyn said that improving the health, safety and welfare of rural people had been her ongoing professional and personal passion.

“Working with producers and rural service providers is a privilege.  While important improvements to the safety of Australian agriculture have been made, records show that there is more work to be done and a need use the combined expertise of rural researchers and producers to find effective solutions.”

Executive Officer Andrew Barrett said that he spoke on behalf of the RDC partners in thanking outgoing Chair, Patrick Murphy, for his tenacious leadership in transitioning from the previous collaborative model and steering the establishment of the renewed Alliance.

“While big shoes to fill, the RSHA is fortunate to have such a distinguished incoming Chair to help continue the positive impact the Alliance is starting to make in addressing rural health and safety issues,” Mr Barrett said.

“Associate Professor Fragar is arguably one of the most experienced, qualified, and successful leaders in agricultural health and safety in the country,” he said.

The RSHA’s independent chair role is designed to provide the RDC partners with a combination of subject matter expertise, leadership and governance.

MLA regional general manager for Japan & Korea

Meat & Livestock Australia earlier this year appointed Scott Walker as the industry service delivery company’s regional manager for MLA Japan & Korea, a move that will see him relocate from Singapore and Indonesia to Tokyo.

Mr Walker comes to MLA following a number of senior leadership roles in Tourism Australia and vitamin manufacturer, Blackmores.

“Both markets have a legacy of strong branding, recognition and trust and this was immediately evident when I started,” he said. “This is a powerful tool, particularly in uncertain times to generate both present and future growth opportunities. The markets are becoming increasingly competitive and Australia’s brand equity will be a critical strength in the competitive battle to come.”

“The importance of these markets cannot be understated and I look forward to contributing to the success of all our stakeholders. I am optimistic about the ongoing and long term potential of the markets and look forward to working with the industry further to see Australia’s position continue to evolve, grow and prosper,” he said.

MLA’s new GM for communications

In other staff appointments, MLA recently appointed Lucy Broad as the company’s new general manager for communications.

Lucy brings skills and experience to the team, having a technical background in agronomy and skills spanning strategic communications, stakeholder engagement, corporate affairs and change management.

She spent the last three years at Grains Research and Development Corporation as general manager for grower communication and extension, and prior to that worked as managing director of Cox Inall Communications. Earlier she spent 25 years as a journalist, presenter, broadcaster and senior executive with ABC in radio, television and online.

Her remit will be to lead and support the MLA communications team across its stakeholder collaboration, corporate affairs and content portfolios.

New deputy director at AGBU

Canadian Dr Stephen Miller has been appointed deputy director of the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit in Armidale.

Dr Miller joins the research and development agency after four years as director of genetic research at Angus Genetics Incorporated, a division of US Angus and the largest breed organisation in America.

AGBU board chair Lucinda Corrigan said Dr Miller’s appointment would add significant value to the strategic direction and global collaborations for AGBU, established 41 years ago as a partnership between the University of New England and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

It is responsible for Australia’s world-leading Breedplan, Lambplan and Merinoselect systems.

Dr Miller grew up an Ontario beef farm, gaining his bachelor degree and doctorate at the University of Guelph.

Vale Dr Neil McMeniman

Dr Neil Patrick McMeniman, former livestock nutritionist in the Queensland Department of Primary Industries, and senior lecturer, Professor and Head of the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland, passed away last month.

As a result of his scholastic achievements at Nudgee College in Brisbane, Neil was awarded a State Scholarship to study Veterinary Science at Queensland University.  On graduation he was posted to Charleville in 1967 where he joined an enthusiastic group of young research workers in the newly established Charleville Pastoral Laboratory.  This Lab attracted seed funding from the then Wool Research Trust Fund after Dr George Moule recognised that livestock production research in western Queensland was poorly supported by industry funding bodies.

Dr Neil McMeniman

After his arrival at the Charleville Lab Neil’s focus quickly turned to the rectification of mineral deficiencies in sheep being fed mulga as part of long held drought feeding practices.  He developed many innovative techniques in carrying out studies which resulted in the awarding of his Master of Veterinary Science degree in 1972.  His thesis subject was “The utilisation of mulga (Acacia aneura) by sheep with particular reference to phosphorus and molasses supplementation”.

This research also saw him presented with the University of Queensland’s post graduate prize for achievements within the first 5 years of graduation.

In 1973 Neil was awarded a Scholarship to undertake advanced studies, at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK, into nitrogen digestion in the ruminant.  On completion of his PhD he returned to the Charleville Pastoral Lab in 1976 and another period of active field research followed, focussed on dietary studies with sheep and beef cattle, in association with Dr Ian Beale.  He published his “Drought Feeding of Sheep” in 1979.  This work still remains an essential source of drought feeding information for livestock to this day.

The desire to provide educational opportunities for his teenage children saw Neil transfer to DPI’s Sheep & Wool Branch in Brisbane in 1979. However his scholarship and talents had not escaped his peers in the nearby Vet School at UQ, who needed a well-grounded animal nutritionist to improve their teaching offerings.  So after a short period with Sheep & Wool Neil returned to his alma mater where he was in turn Senior Lecturer, Professor and finally Head of the Vet School from 2001-2008.

Neil was ideally suited and qualified to lead animal nutrition studies at the Vet School.  He was a great mentor of undergraduate and postgraduates alike, and offered particular guidance to his overseas students.  His contributions to livestock nutrition and research were widely recognised at a State, National and international level.

Neil is survived by Eileen, his wife of 53 years, and their children Susan, Caron, Damien and Deirdre, as well as 11 grandchildren.   He was a loving husband, father and grandfather and will be sadly missed by all his family, work colleagues and friends.   Truly a great bloke and a productive life very well led.

Angus Australia appoints Northern Development Officer

Angus Australia has appointed Jen Peart as the breed society’s new Northern Development Officer.

Jen Peart

Through her new role, Jen will be responsible for providing breeding decision support to producers and the beef supply chain in northern Australia using Angus and Angus-influenced genetics. This includes the development of innovative education tools, resources and extension programs.

Jen will be conducting her role based out of Injune, in Central Queensland.

Jen grew up in Central Queensland on an organic commercial beef cattle property that breeds, backgrounds and finishes composite cattle. After completing a Bachelor of Rural Science at University of New England Armidale she joined MLA, working in a variety of roles, most notably as an analyst in the Market Information team and as a Project Officer in Integrity Systems Company, managing the LPA program.

“I am particularly passionate about producer profitability and delivering research and extension of value, and I am eager to work with producers in northern Australia on the opportunities of using Angus and Angus-influenced genetics, coupled with the vast array of objective data, within their beef enterprises,” she said.

PIEFA appoints new CEO

The Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia has appointed Luciano Mesiti as the organisation’s new chief executive officer.

Mr Mesiti brings a range of in-depth skills to grow PIEFA’s effectiveness in delivering quality curriculum content about contemporary food and fibre production to all Australian schools, having worked in both the secondary school and university sectors, as well as having a strong background in rural production. He is a former president of the NSW Association of Agriculture Teachers and was head agriculture teacher at Colo High School at North Richmond, NSW. Previous roles include academic positions at Charles Sturt University and University of Western Sydney, and research projects conducting social research relating to animal health.

He joins PIEFA when there are major issues impacting on Australia’s school education system through the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a greater focus on online learning. This will present PIEFA with an opportunity to extend its reach into schools through its well-regarded websites and

“I look forward to working with the PIEFA Board, Research and Development Corporations, supporting industry organisations and schools across Australia in ensuring that high quality learning opportunities are available for students to learn about food and fibre production,” he said.






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