Global Speakers


Alan Shea

GM Operations

Murrumbidgee Irrigation

Topic: Transforming Irrigated Agriculture Using System Automation, IoT and Predictive Analysis in Maximizing Water Efficiency, Crop Yield and Climate Resilience

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Brooke Sauer

Digital Agriculture Manager

McGregor Gourlay Agricultural Services

Brooke Sauer is the Digital Agriculture Manager for McGregor Gourlay, leading a small team of agronomists and technical specialists who provide support, guidance and expertise to farmers, consultants and industry on the use of spatial data and technology to improve the triple bottom line. Brooke has over 15 years’ experience in developing agricultural farming systems from zero til to controlled traffic, precision agriculture and now more broadly in digital agriculture. As an investor, collaborator, commercial partner, applied technology developer, advisor, consultant, occasional lecturer and well-regarded “brutally honest” speaker, Brooke has a diverse range of experiences and draws on these to bring focus, simplicity and progression for her clients.

Topic: Using All of That On-Farm Data for Positive Gains

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Carly Irving

General Manager, Customer and Market Operations

Energy Queensland

When Carly Irving joined Energex as a HR consultant, she couldn’t have imagined that nine years later she’d be leading the Customer and Market Operations team in the Energy Queensland distribution business. It’s a career progression she credits to understanding the importance of building a customer-centric business and fostering a cohesive and engaged team. Her department is accountable for customer service interactions, systems, processes and continuous improvement in the delivery of positive customer outcomes. She is passionate about engaging people to build an organizational culture that puts the customer at the heart of decision making, fostering a positive work environment and delivering improved, sustainable business results.

Topic: Case Study – Queensland Government Deploying Digital Meters to Curb Spread of Banana Disease

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Prof Craig Baillie

Director, Centre for Agricultural Engineering & Deputy Executive Director, Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences

University of Southern Queensland

Professor Craig Baillie is the Director of the Centre for Agricultural Engineering (CAE) and the Deputy Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences (IAESS) at the University of Southern Queensland. Craig is an Agricultural Engineer with 23 years’ experience in Agricultural Research, Development and Extension (R, D &E). His role at USQ includes research management, business development (new projects) and the commercialization/adoption of engineering technologies. Primary research interests include farming systems innovation and technology solutions to improve farm productivity and profitability. Key focus areas include precision agriculture, energy conservation, bioresources, irrigation modernization and automation. Craig is also involved in major initiatives and collaborative research with Deere and Company in the USA on new and innovative farming technologies.

Topic A: Developments in Autonomous Tractors and the Commercial Reality
Topic B: Water-Smart Farming: Maximizing Irrigation Potential Through Autonomous Systems and Adaptive Control



Darryl Lyons



Topic: Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) Furnishes Crucial Connectivity for Millions of Smart Sensors to be Connected Across Australian Smart Farms



Emma Weston

CEO and Co-founder


Emma Weston is the CEO and a Co-founder of AgriDigital, one of Australia’s leading emerging agtech and fintech companies. Emma has had a diverse career as a lawyer, agribusiness executive and executive coach. She is mentor to several start ups and founders in Australia and overseas, and was recently named one of Australia’s Top 25 Fintech Influencers and was awarded Female Fintech Leader of the Year and Emerging Fintech Leader of the Year for 2017 by FinTech Australia as well as Female Fintech Leader of the Year at the 2017 Australian Fintech Awards.

In December 2016, AgriDigital achieved the world’s first settlement of a physical agri-commodity on a blockchain between a farmer and a buyer in New South Wales, Australia and this was recognized by Fintech Australia presenting AgriDigital the Excellence in Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology Award for 2017. AgriDigital recently launched its digital supply chain platform for the agricultural sector and continues to work with blockchain and other novel enabling technologies to bring efficiency and transparency to global supply chains.

A sought-after speaker on agtech, fintech, women in tech and blockchain, Emma holds an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management, a LLB (Hons) from the University of Melbourne, and a BA from the University of Melbourne. Emma is an active tech community member and advisor to startups. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a non-executive director of the Australian Digital Commerce Association and Fintech Australia.

Topic: Exemplary Case Study – Australia’s Largest Co-Operative and Grain Exporter, CBH Group, Successfully Employs Award-Winning AgriDigital’s Blockchain to Eliminate Counterparty Risk and Track Provenance of Agri Produce

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Fiona Lake

Ag Specialist, Photographer & Writer

Licenced Drone Pilot (ReOC, RePL, AROC, night certified)

Fiona Lake is a licensed drone pilot and professional agricultural photographer with more than 30 year’s experience. She is also a book author and farm tour leader. In 2018, Fiona was named as one of ten ‘Women to Watch in UAS’ by Chicago-based ‘Women and Drones’, she ran a session at North America’s largest drone conference and had an Australian Embassy exhibition opened by Ambassador Joe Hockey. Fiona was raised on a family wheat-sheep farm in the southern Riverina, has lived on a variety of farms and cattle stations across eastern Australia, and now lives in North Queensland.

Topic: Drones in Ag – Sorting Fact from Fiction – and Predictions

Panel Discussion: Thinking Outside the Box to Boost Agtech Adoption

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Dr Graham Brodie

Senior Food and Agriculture Lecturer

University of Melbourne

Dr Graham Brodie is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences. He earned his electrical engineering degree from James Cook University and worked in the electrical industry for some time before turning his hand to academia. Dr Brodie’s research interests include: microwave heating of bio-materials; using microwaves for sensing and communication in agriculture and forestry; improving water use efficiency in agriculture; producing renewable energy on farms; on-farm animal waste management; and applications of Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing technologies in agriculture and archaeology.

Topic: Revolutionary Way to Kill Weeds and Boost Soil Fertility Powered by Microwaves Diminishes Weeds by 85% and Elevates Yield by 35-92%

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Greg Nielsen

General Manager, Customer Care and Revenue Assurance

Energy Queensland

Greg Nielsen is the General Manager of Customer Care and Revenue Assurance for Ergon Energy Retail and previously the General Manager of Network Monitoring and Processing of Energy Networks. In the Network role, he was accountable for the Metering, Streetlight and the Network Data functions. Greg has a long term relationship with the agricultural sector, and coordinated the use of remote read digital metering to address a range of issues and opportunities in this sector. He currently manages the Ergon Energy Retail Credit, Billing and Market Interface functions. Greg still has significant involvement in the metering space.

Topic: Case Study – Queensland Government Deploying Digital Meters to Curb Spread of Banana Disease

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Janine Milne

Queensland Board Member

Australian Women in Agriculture

Janine Milne is a senior teacher of various agricultural subjects at Dalby State High School, in Darling Downs, Queensland. Janine has also been coordinating the agriculture subject area since 2015. Prior to teaching, Janine has worked in the beef cattle feedlotting and organic poultry industries in various positions. Janine received a Graduate Diploma of Teaching and Learning at the University of Southern Queensland in 2011; and a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Animal Production, and Rural and Regional Business Management at the University of Queensland, Gatton Campus in 2008. Janine believes that agriculture is one of the most exciting, innovative and technology-driven industry that offers young people plenty of STEM opportunities in agricultural context to develop their skills so they can be competitive in the employment market.

Panel Discussion: STEM and Digital Technologies in Agricultural Education

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Dr John Abbot

Principal Scientist

Climate Modelling Laboratory

Dr John Abbot has more than thirty years experience in research, most recently in the application of artificial neural networks (ANNs) for climatic forecasting, published in international climate science journals including Atmospheric Research and Advances in Atmospheric Research.

Dr Abbot has worked as a scientist in universities and industry. He held faculty research positions in chemistry and chemical engineering at Queens University, Canada, and the University of Tasmania, where he successfully supervised 12 honours and 6 PhD students. His research involved mathematical modelling of kinetic phenomena in complex chemical processes. He was a Professorial Research Fellow at Central Queensland University working on environmental studies, including development of the application of big data techniques including ANNs to medium- and long-term rainfall forecasting. He also worked in industry R&D departments at Triplex Safety Glass, Caltex Refineries and the Sugar Research Institute.

Dr Abbot has 4 science degrees: BSc (Imperial College), MSc (University of British Columbia), MBiotech (University of Queensland), PhD (McGill University) and Diploma in Applied Computing (Central Queensland University).  He also has degrees in law – JD and LLM (University of Queensland), an MBA (Technology Management) and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment.

Dr Abbot has over 100 articles published in the peer-reviewed literature, including 12 papers on the application of neural networks to climatic phenomena, particularly rainfall forecasting. Most recently, a chapter authored by him appeared in the InTechOpen Engineering and Mathematical Topics in Rainfall book, and he is currently editing a book entitled Flood Risk Management with the same publisher. Several publications focus on rainfall forecasting for agricultural regions such as the wheatbelt of Western Australia, sugar cultivation regions of coastal Queensland and the Murray Darling basin.

Dr Abbot has had an interest in the application of ANNs to time-series data for more than 10 years, beginning with the use of these techniques in financial forecasting. His interest in rainfall forecasting was stimulated by the severe flooding in Queensland during 2010/2011, when the low skill of official forecasts using general circulation models became evident.

Topic: Game-changer – Innovative AI Climate and Rainfall Forecasting Technology Employs Big Data to Prepare Farmers for Drought Season

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John Hodgson

Senior Complex Systems Architect

Independent Contractor

John Hodgson has 30-plus years of practical experience in systems architecture, design, development, implementation, service management and Information Technology.

He grew up in Port Moresby, the Territory of Papua, New Guinea in the 60s, attended a Sydney Boarding School for six years, and settled with his family into the northern suburbs of Sydney in the 70s.

John is a senior Information Systems Architect, specializing in providing expert architectural and compliance support to Government, Risk Mitigations, Defence, Security and Intelligence customers in Complex Systems, Diverse Solutions, and Integration Resolutions.

John has been in the ICT Industry since the 1970s, including a decade-plus in middle-tier Federal Departments (DHC, DAS), 11 years in IBM Canberra as a Lead Systems engineer, and 15 years in Defence Capability and CIO groups, employed by critical infrastructure projects, Policy and Strategy directorates and diverse and cross-domain systems integration requirements.

John has a keen interest in where Information Technologies are developing towards, how the rates of change continue to increase over time, how we can effectively manage risk changes in such circumstances, and where Quantum, Cloud and A.I. developments are taking our society over the next 20 years.

Topic: Data Integrity, Privacy, Ownership and Security – Ongoing Debate on Who Owns the Data Collected


John McLaughlin


CSIRO’s Data61

John McLaughlin is an Analyst within CSIRO’s Data61. He is part of the Strategic Insights team that combine research excellence with business relevance to help governments, businesses and communities navigate change in the digital economy. His team analyses emerging trends, drivers and scenarios, and apply modelling approaches to generate insights and inform future strategy and policy decisions. Their services focus on translating research to solve real-world problems for business and policy, and help decision makers better prepare for future challenges and opportunities.

Topic: Bridging Farmers’ Skills Gap with Agriculture

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Jonathan Medway


Terrabyte Services

Jonathan Medway is an agricultural consultant based in Wagga Wagga, NSW who specializes in spatial data collection, analysis and management services for agricultural and natural resource managers. Working across Australia and internationally, Jonathan has more than 25 years’ experience researching, developing and applying a wide range of spatial technologies to activities such as;

  • Land capability assessment
  • Property purchase due diligence
  • High resolution soil mapping
  • Annual and daily, irrigated and dryland agronomic management

With a lifetime of on-farm practical experience, Jonathan uses a comprehensive range of handheld and machine mounted sensors, drone, aircraft and satellite-based data and cutting-edge spatial statistics to customize consultancy services to individual client requirements. Services are provided to family and corporate farms, commercial businesses and government and research agencies.

Topic: Sophisticated Soil Analytics, with Automated Remote Sensing, Satellite Imagery and Digital Mapping, Hones Soil Efficiency and Productivity

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Katie McRobert

General Manager

Australian Farm Institute

Katie McRobert has worked in journalism, editing, photography, graphic design, production, management, research and strategy across print and online platforms. For the past few years, her focus has been on digital community strategy, building ‘knowledge banks’ in sustainable agriculture. Since December 2017, she has worked with the Australian Farm Institute (AFI) on independent agricultural policy research and communications. The AFI aims to enhance the economic and social wellbeing of farmers and the agricultural sector in Australia by conducting highly credible public policy research and promoting the outcomes to policymakers and the wider community.

Panel Discussion: Issues Related to Policy Making for Smart Farms and Research

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Dr Michael Schaefer

Research Scientist

High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre CSIRO node of the APPF

Dr Michael Schaefer completed his undergraduate degree in Science in 2007 and went on to complete his PhD in Applied Physics in 2012 with his thesis titled “Advanced optical sensing of biomass in plant canopies”. This thesis combined his farming background with his love of science. During his PhD study, he also had the opportunity to do some undergraduate physics lecturing and laboratory demonstrating which he found very rewarding.

Dr Schaefer enjoys the challenge of new environmental science projects, in particular projects where we can apply state of the art technology such as LiDAR and remote sensing to deliver a level of detail in research that has not been achieved before.

Topic: Australian Digital Phenotyping

APPG NCRIS Horizontal


Dr Nicole Jensen

General Manager, Genetics and Enabling Technologies

Grains Research and Development Corporation

Dr Nicole Jensen is the General Manager for GRDC’s Genetics and Enabling Technologies business group. She has extensive experience in the seed industry, both in Australia and internationally. Before joining GRDC, Nicole was the Supply Innovation Lead with the Climate Corporation (Monsanto’s digital agricultural flagship), and the Global Trait Integration Breeding Lead for Monsanto. Nicole is the chair of the global Wheat Initiative’s Institutions’ Coordination Committee.

Topic: The Grains Research & Development Corporations (GRDC) New 5-Year Strategic Investment Plan



Prof Paul Martin

Director, Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law

University of New England

After many years of working in advanced technology as a board director, chairman and venture capitalist, Prof Paul Martin became the director of the Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law at the University of New England in 2005. One of the AgLaw Centre’s areas of research is the law and governance of agricultural technologies.

Topic: Institutional Challenges in Optimizing Smart Farming Systems for Australia

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Philip Mulvey


Environmental Earth Sciences International

Philip Mulvey, who has a BSc Agric (Soil Science) and MAppSc (Environmental Geology), is an entrepreneur in repair and sustainable use of landscape. He is the founding owner of Environmental Earth Sciences International Group, which includes Carbon Exchange Pty Ltd and he is one of three founding partners of 3D Ag. He has managed teams who have been repairing degradable land in mining, landfills and contaminated sites for over 35 years. He leads a team currently engaged in repairing arid- and war-damaged land in the Middle East.

About a decade ago in partnership with Peter and Hazel McInerney, they bought their combined skills to create a team that specialized in making commercial farming enterprises green while maintaining the balance sheet in the black, lifting yield of degraded farms from 1.0 t/ha in a bad year to 2.0 t/ha. This was achieved by, amongst other things, managing soil carbon.

Successful management depends on measurement and after a decade research and three PhDs at University of Sydney, Faculty of Agriculture (now Sydney Institute of Agriculture) sponsored by both the EESI Group and 3D Ag, a new accurate and precise tool for measuring and managing soil carbon was derived. This patented technology, now tested throughout Australia over a range of farming enterprises is the best basis behind trading of soil carbon and is currently being incorporated into a web/App based system.

Topic: Innovative Soil Management Techniques – Soil Carbon Sequestration Curtails Soil Erosion, Conserves Water and Raises Productivity

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Piers Hogarth-Scott

National Practice Leader – Internet of Things

KPMG Australia

Piers Hogarth-Scott has 20 years digital transformation experience in the UK, Australia and Asia as a management consultant and senior executive with Big 4 professional services firms and multinational digital agencies.

Piers established and leads the IoT management consulting practice at KPMG and works with the Firm’s Technology Global Centre of Excellence to drive our capability globally.

He work with senior business leaders to help them create value through taking advantage of digitizing the physical world with the Internet of Things, with a key sector focus on Smart Cities, Smart Food & Fiber and Smart Power & Utilities.

More specifically, Piers helps clients develop strategies to tap into the economic opportunity that is presented by IoT, to help them make better, faster decisions, improve business processes, optimize asset utilization, create compelling customer experiences, develop innovative products and services, reduce business risk and predict future events.

A founding member of the Executive Committee of the IoT Alliance Australia (IoTAA), board advisor to Hypercat a leading standard for interoperability of IoT, and recognized by Business Age as one of the Top 50 Entrepreneurs in the UK to have made the most significant contribution to the Internet, innovation and wealth creation.

Keynote Address: Transforming Agriculture Using IoT and Predictive Analytics in Boosting Efficiency and Yield



Richard Murdoch

Long Term Grain Grower

Tuckokcowie Station

Having benefited from the experience of four previous farming generations at Warooka on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, Richard Murdoch, his wife Lee-Anne, their son Will and staff grow wheat, canola, lentils and faba beans on some challenging soil types in a Mediterranean-type climate. They also operate a self-replacing Murray Grey cattle herd and Merino sheep flock. Sharing knowledge and fostering strategies with the next generation is of high importance to Richard whose passion for agriculture from an early age has extended beyond the farm to include involvement in the Agricultural Bureau of SA, Advisory Board of Agriculture SA, Agribusiness Council of Australia SA, the YP Alkaline Soils Group and grain marketing groups.

Panel Discussion: Managing Future Farm Logistics Using New Technologies and Strategies

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Dr Rohan Rainbow


Ag Tech Centric

Dr Rohan Rainbow is a Canberra-based consultant with more than 30 years of experience in agricultural industry leadership, having overseen the development and implementation of investment of a number of industry strategies in plant breeding for biotic traits, crop protection, biosecurity, food and feed safety, farming systems, precision agriculture, robotics, automation, data and digital agriculture. After 17 years in the Clare Valley, where he was the founding executive officer of the national precision agriculture association SPAA, he left in 2006 to take on the role as the national crop protection manager for the Grains Research and Development Corporation. Rohan Is Managing Director of the consulting company Crop Protection Australia and a director of AgtechCentric. He currently consults to a number of Rural Research and Development Corporations, industry organisations, commercial companies and was recently the Project Leader – Accelerating Precision Agriculture to Decision Agriculture P2D Project involving all 15 RDCs and the Australian Government. Rohan is also a consultant advisor to Grain Producers Australia on agricultural chemical access, policy and regulation.

Topic: Precision Agriculture Raises Profitability by Maximizing Productivity and Minimizing Cost and Environmental Damage

Panel Discussion: Addressing the Regulatory Uncertainty of New Agricultural Technologies – How Can We Build Confidence for Investment in Commercialization and Use by Producers?

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Ros Harvey

Founder & Managing Director

The Yield

Ros Harvey is an experienced entrepreneur and executive in the field of technology, particularly the Internet of Things (IoT) and user-centric design. Ros is committed to creating public good through the innovative use of technology, which is reflected throughout her career.

Since Ros founded Australian AgTech company, The Yield, in 2014. It has become one of the industry’s fastest growing technology success stories. The Yield is backed by several leading global businesses including Bosch, KPMG and Microsoft.

Ros is passionate about technology playing a role in the sustainable governance of the planet, and is an accomplished speaker on AgTech, IoT, converting data to knowledge and the future of food. Ros founded the globally recognised Better Work program, a landmark joint program of the World Bank and the United Nations.

Topic: Case Study – The Yield’s Sensing+ Leverages Internet of Things Sensors Systems and Artificial Intelligence to Help Australian Growers Make More Accurate Farm Decisions

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Prof Salah Sukkarieh

Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems

The University of Sydney

Salah Sukkarieh is Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the University of Sydney. For over 20 years, Salah has been researching and developing air and ground robotics for environment monitoring and agriculture.

Topic: Case Study – University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) Pioneering Driverless Tractors into the Era of Mass Automation


Scott Gregory

Founder & CEO

Sprouting Good Urban Rooftop Farming

Scott created Sprouting Good to help reduce the devastating impact on those youth who find themselves on the street with little hope of picking up the pieces of their lives through Urban Rooftop Farming with a built-in life skills program. Scott’s passion for Urban Food Cultivation comes from the understanding of importance to secure our food supply with a dream to eliminate deaths from malnutrition in the developing world.

Topic: Vertical Farms – Novel Approach to Reducing Waste & Achieving Maximum Yields

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Sonja Cameron


Cameron’s Nursery

Sonja Cameron is a Director of Cameron’s Nursery alongside her husband Andy Cameron. Both instilled with a passion for horticulture, they started Cameron’s Nursery in 1992, supplying quality plants to the retail nurseries, chain stores and the landscape sector. With a steadfast commitment to the environment, Sonja endeavored to run the business guided by beliefs in a sustainability and environmental responsibility.

After purchasing a block of land in Arcadia in 2000 to build a new nursery, Sonja and Andy designed the layout of the new site specifically to achieve their water-saving and environmental goals. They employed the “Recycle Reduce Reuse” scheme as part of the their sustainability policy. Constantly reviewing all aspects of the business, “Think Local Buy Local” also became a prominent motto both at work and at home.

Sonja is heavily involved in her industry, with schools, TAFE and Universities and with her local community, regularly conducting tours and speaking about her passion for plants and the environment.

Topic: Case Study – Award-Winning Cameron’s Nursery Utilizes Smart Wireless Sensors to Ensure Crops Health and Reduce Losses

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Tim Burrow


Agribusiness Australia

Tim Burrow holds an Associate Diploma in Farm Management (University of Adelaide – Roseworthy) and a Graduate Diploma in Agriculture (University of Western Sydney – Hawkesbury). Tim’s skills and experience include some 30 years of experience across the Agribusiness sector of Australia & NZ, including a number of senior management positions within The Emerald Group of Companies, Chemtura & Monsanto. His career is notable for his significant involvement in the establishment of a number of now everyday cultural practices including returnable Ag Chemical containers, minimum tillage practise and on farm seed processing. Tim is passionate about Agriculture and Australian Agriculture in particular and the need to feed the world by being involved with farmers to facilitate growing more food and fibre more effectively, with integrity.

Tim will be chairing this conference.

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