Rachel ASQUITH – AgWorld
Rachel Asquith lives for lightbulb moments and loves breaking down barriers to tech adoption in agriculture. Rachel has a degree in Agricultural Science from UWA and has previously worked in herbicide resistance research. Rachel started with Agworld in customer success and has spent her time focusing on communicating the value of digital technology on farm and in ag business. Rachel has travelled across Australia and internationally with Agworld and is passionate about the future of the agtech industry.
Chris BALAZS – Provenir
Chris Balazs is the CEO and Co-Founder of Provenir, one of the leaders pioneering true paddock to plate produce, through on-farm mobile abattoir technology. Chris BALAZS – CEO and Co-Founder, Provenir
Chris’s innovative and adaptive approach to an emerging sector of the food industry has seen Provenir achieve great growth over the last year, and has bought a whole new disruptive technology to the red meat industry that will improve animal welfare standards whilst increasing farmers slice of the value chain
A scientist by profession Chris has had the opportunity to work on global technology transfer projects and complete his MBA. He recently transitioned from this successful 20yr corporate career to focusing full time on ag-tech innovation. Previously a scientist by profession, now a farmer by choice, his combination of scientific knowledge, farming practicality and business acumen has enabled the dream of on-farm livestock processing to become a reality in Australia.
Andrew BATE – SwarmFarm Robotics
As co-founder and CEO of SwarmFarm Robotics, Andrew Bate is the chief visionary, leveraging his experience as a successful grain and cattle farmer and his deep knowledge of robotics to drive the successful development of the SwarmBot. Andrew has spent a life time in agriculture; he has trained as an agronomist, and has spent the last 19 years farming near Emerald, Central Queensland.
Dr David BEATTY – Meat & Livestock Australia
David is a veterinarian with a PhD and background in agriculture research. In 2009, David joined Meat and Livestock Australia and is now the Program Manager for value chain research, development and adoption. This role focuses on identifying opportunities and issues across the value chain for WA stakeholders and ensuring WA producers have access to MLA programs and initiatives. David is also responsible for the MLA on farm R&D team.
This presentation will explore Ag Tech solutions relevant to red meat producers across the supply chain and how they are linked to consumer expectations. It will focus on what solutions may be required that are fit for purpose, and importantly how benefit versus cost must be part of any decisions to implement AgTech on farm.
Kim BROOKSBANK – DPIRD
For the past 20 years Kim has been looking for ways to improve the sustainability of agriculture in Western Australia. This has included research into the impact of perennials on the hydrology of wheatbelt farms as well as work on assessing and managing a range of soil degradation issues such as acidity, compaction and erosion. Kim has been involved in bio-economy industry development since 2001 and is currently leading that area of work within the Energy Futures team of the Department of Regional Development and Primary Industries. When he’s not working on other peoples farms, he is working his own commercial vegetable farm near Albany.
Annie BROX – Origo
28 Years in the ICT and Telco Industry overseas and in Australia. Founder of Origo, a WA Ag Tech services company now providing ag tech solutions in Queensland, Victoria and WA.
Various executive and managing roles including Operations and business support systems in large Nordic Telco operations, and Program Manager for the global United Nations environmental network, establishment and operations of a global satellite-based Internet dedicated to environmental data and services.
Lachlan CAMPBELL – Proagni
Lachlan is a specialist agricultural consultant, facilitator and farmer who grew up on the family farm in Australia. Hundreds of family farming businesses have engaged Lachlan to educate them about planning and adapting to change. He is an active contributor and guide to the Sheep and Cattle Industry and advisor to corporate and government.
Lachlan creates sustainable, economic and ecological success in agricultural enterprise by promoting optimal resource management that benefits human health, industry growth and animal welfare.
Professor Simon COOK
Simon Cook is an internationally accomplished scientist with 25 years’ experience in agriculture systems and natural resource management. He is an expert in applying data science and technologies to help solve applied problems at regional and farm levels, with experience in research management to support precision agriculture, information-rich natural resource use and agricultural development. He has recently taken up the position as the Premier’s Fellow in Agriculture and Food, based at Curtin and Murdoch Universities.
Dr Matthew FLYNN
Dr Matthew Flynn is the Director of Innovation Capability at Greenleaf. Greenleaf is a successful consulting firm with a 17 year history of supporting Australian agricultural businesses. Matt is passionate about helping large and small companies grow through business model innovation and developing products and services that customers actually want. Matt is a published author, writing on digital business model innovation and the future of work. He has spoken at various international conferences on the digital economy, innovation and building human capability.
Tom FROST – Australian Mineral Fertilisers
Tom Frost is the marketing & communications manager from Australian Mineral Fertilisers – creators of Grow Safe. Tom is passionate about highly productive systems that are also environmentally sustainable. Having studied both locally and abroad, Tom hopes to bring some of his experience to encourage other young people to careers in modern agriculture. Tom’s family property – Stonemeal Farm – is located in Narrikup, growing fat lambs and merino wool.
Jacquie GABB – NTT DATA Business Solutions
Jacquie is a passionate Innovator and Leader within the Agriculture industry. Jacquie leads NTT DATA’s globally recognised Innovation teams, and partners with clients in the Agriculture industry to transform and grow their organisations, ensuring they are at the forefront of an ever evolving and competitive technology market. Jacquie promotes innovation as a driver for long-term growth, and has a deep interest in the challenges agriculture organisations face with the exponential growth of information technology.
Throughout her career Jacquie has been recognised as a technology thought leader across a variety of industries and organisations. She has successfully delivered projects, architectures and solutions by translating customer requirements into innovative solutions for our clients. Working with NTT DATA’s global innovation labs, Jacquie sees the latest technologies and works with our local and regional clients to integrate and adopt new ways of working. Through the use of artificial intelligence, robotics and analytics, Jacquie’s team has been working with local agriculture organisations to develop automated livestock monitoring solutions, noxious vegetation detection, as well as, data simulations for logistics planning to manage lowest cost, highest quality to port in the grain industry.
Jacquie is a firm believer that through the integration of technology in the everyday lives of our farmers and livestock handlers, we can keep everyone safe, connected and pushing the boundaries of the impossible to create smarter, more efficient organisations. She also believes that the ability to leverage available data and translate this to usable insights is a critical component within the agricultural industry.
Tim GENTLE – Think Digital
Only a few years ago, the prospect of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) playing a meaningful role in Australian agriculture with tangible, practical applications seemed idealistic. Tim will be bringing the realm of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to life for TECHSPO delegates in this keynote presentation, discussing practical ways in which this technology can be utilised on farms to assist with asset management, provide greater industry visibility, facilitate staff training and inductions, market your product, tell your whole farm story and more. Tim will also be showcasing a whole new way of selling livestock via a virtual auction environment; a glimpse into the future of livestock sales in an increasingly globalised market.
Specialising in “Immersive Technologies in Agriculture”, Tim is uniquely placed to unpack the practical application of augmented reality and virtual reality on farms, and the role that these technologies can play in the future of agriculture.
Dr Andrew GUZZOMI – University of Western Australia
Dr Andrew Guzzomi is an agricultural engineer whose research focuses on devising novel engineering solutions to challenging and relevant global agricultural problems. He uses his interests in engineering, the environment and humanity to develop more efficient systems for our sustainable future and to render lab science practical. For example, he leads the engineering research and development of mechanical targeted tillage device for broad-acre cropping to help overcome reliance on herbicides and leads the engineering research and development of native seed flaming technology that is changing how degraded lands are restored using native seeds. His focus on the research and development of practical agricultural engineering solutions to deal with real industry problems and engineering education to shape future generations has seen him be awarded numerous grants and a number of competitive scholarships/fellowships – in 2016 he was awarded the WA Innovator of the Year.
Zack Hartshorne – Hummingbird Technologies
Zack hails from New Zealand and has a strong agronomic background. Zack spent 7 years managing farms in Australia. 3 of which were spent as a manager on one of Australia’s largest potato and onion farms. This was followed by several years in the black earth region of Russia focusing on potatoes and irrigation. Zack is familiar with modern farming practices having used VRI for a number of years. Zack founded Hummingbird Australia 13 months ago and has been with the Hummingbird team for the last 13 months and now oversees operations in New Zealand and Australia.
Dr Lars KAMPHUIS – Centre for Crop & Disease Management
Lars is the Canola and Pulses Research Theme Leader at the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM), a national research centre focused on research into crop diseases of wheat, barley, canola and pulses.
Lars heads up a team of researchers using pathology and genetics to study a range of diseases including sclerotinia stem rot (SSR) in canola and ascochyta blight in pulses including chickpeas and lentils.
The teams’ focus is on identifying sources of genetic resistance to these damaging crop diseases, and helping growers improve overall yield stability and profits through greater adoption of canola and pulses into rotation systems.
At TECHSPO, he will be talking about an exciting project that could open up new opportunities for crop production in WA, involving wild chickpeas and his team’s innovative approach where they are using genetics to develop new resilient varieties.
Mike KIRKE – Rural Data Management Services
RDMS provides livestock EID services and expertise in making livestock EID equipment and data work to deliver value for client operations.
A qualified engineer, Mike brings over 25 years of experience in data management and turning data into actionable information. Coupled with a practical approach from working on farms, he is focused on keeping things simple and making data collection and management a part of the process, not a separate process.
Mike is a registered data manager and MATSEL advisor with Sheep Genetics and an accredited provider for the SmartShepherd pedigree collars.
Professor David LAMB – Food Agility CRC Ltd.
David is a physicist who has worked in precision agriculture for more than 25 years and led more than 40 industry-funded R&D projects. He established the University of New England’s Precision Agriculture Research Group, and the internationally renowned SMART Farm project, and recently completed national reviews of telecommunications challenges and opportunities for Australian agriculture as well as for the livestock feedlot sector.
He is a member of the National Positioning Infrastructure Advisory Board and is an advisor on several agricultural sector-specific technical innovation groups and communities of interest. David currently serves as the UNE-hosted, Chief Scientist in Food Agility, a $150M+, 10 year Cooperative Research Centre focussed on transforming the agrifood sector using the power of digital.
In 2016, David received the McClymont Distinguished Professorship (Research) at UNE in recognition of his ongoing service to agriculture innovation and research leadership. Professor David Lamb will be giving an overview of the Australian AgTech landscape and deep-diving into key AgTech innovations that are at the forefront of the future of farming.
Wes LAWRENCE – Axis Tech
Wes Lawrence grew up on the family farm in Cranbrook and after finishing school, spent a few years working on the farm.
After moving to Perth to study, Wes became involved in technology and worked in vehicle tracking and telematics before moving to wrist watches with mobile phone technology in the days before wearable technology became mainstream.
Wes has also worked with data over RF and designed sensor and communication systems for luxury boating. He has been working in IoT for the last 3 years with a focus on AgTech over the last 18 months.
Wes is passionate about understanding his customers’ needs and delivering solutions that solve problems and give time, energy and money back to customers.
Cameron LEESON – thingc Robotics
Cameron was inspired by his childhood in regional Australia to seek opportunities within agriculture where he could apply his mechanical & technical capabilities. Cameron has worked in a range of industries, from being a motor mechanic, to a web developer, with his most recent work being in electronics and hardware development.
Cameron’s formal training includes studies in engineering, industrial design and architecture. This broad range of experience led Cameron to found thingc Robotics to focus on applications of robotics technology in agriculture. Since founding thingc Robotics two years ago, one of Cameron’s highlights was the 6 months he spent living and working on his startup in China, during the last half of 2018. Cameron is always keen to chat with anyone with an interest in how technology might be applied in agriculture to improve efficiencies and reduce labour challenges.
Wes LEFROY – RaboResearch Food and Agribusiness
Wes’ passion for agriculture stems from his experience growing up on a mixed cropping farm near Moora in Western Australia.
Now working as an agricultural analyst in Rabobank’s food and agribusiness research team, Wes’ role is cross-sectoral, primarily focussed on ag land and AgTech, in addition to fertiliser and grains & oilseeds. He also hosts a monthly podcast called “Tech Talk”.
Factors such as changing consumer demand and the necessity to reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint are amplifying pressure on global agriculture, but what does it mean for farmers in Western Australia? These factors, together with technology as an enabler, will substantially alter farming practices. In his presentation, Wes will address the impacts which go beyond the farm operations, to governance and functionality, and ultimately how both risk and value will be distributed along value-chains.
Dr. Fran LOPEZ-RUIZ – Centre for Crop & Disease Management
Fran is the CCDM’s Fungicide and Resistance Management and Disease Impacts Theme Leader and fungicide resistance expert. At the CCDM, Fran leads a team of researchers investigating how fungicide resistance develops and how improving fungicide management can reduce disease impact in the field.
Using cutting-edge, high-throughput technologies to monitor fungicide resistance and prevent crop disease reaching epidemic levels, the CCDM’s fungicide resistance team play a key role in reducing the economic impact of crop disease to the Australians grains industry.
Originally from Spain, Fran has been studying fungicide resistance for nearly two decades and is highly regarded as one of Australia’s foremost experts in this area.
David MILLER – Murdoch University
David is an agricultural scientist from WA. After completing his PhD at UWA in 1995, David spent 10 years in Scotland researching environmental impacts on farm animal production, health and welfare. In 2005, David joined the Centre for Pastures, Animal Production and Health at Murdoch University. His research interests include on-farm and supply chain health and welfare monitoring and management.
Ann Maree O’CALLAGHAN – Strategy Matrix
Ann Maree is a skilled business consultant, facilitator and stakeholder engagement professional. She specialises in strategic planning and business development related to agri-business, natural resources and land management. Through her work, Ann Maree is constantly at the interface of assisting regional communities, industry and businesses to prosper.
Ann Maree is Director and founder of Strategy Matrix, a strategic planning and business development consultancy. It specialises in research, innovation, feasibility analysis and financial modelling.
In partnership with Maree Gooch, Ann Maree is founder and director of Value Creators, an innovative development organisation that delivers bespoke programs focused on people, business and industry growth.
Glenn McTAGGART – Landmark Operations partnered with Stratus Imaging
Glenn’s 40 year plus involvement in agriculture has encountered several diversified roles. Starting as a livestock rep in the Wesfarmers days, then progressing to a Landmark franchise owner which saw his next move into corporate Landmark in Network Development Analyst when Wesfarmers acquired Dalgety’s. The move to the east for 3 years in that role, Glenn visited nearly every branch from Ceduna in SA to Mareeba in QLD.
Returning to WA from that role, Glenn operated a farm management consultancy business for 10 years in the central wheat belt region, after which returning to Perth in 2007 in various corporate roles with Landmark which takes him to his present-day role.
Patrick PAGE – Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Patrick Page is the Senior Development Officer at the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development.
He is currently the team leader for Agribusiness Development working with both proponents and regulators to work their way through the establishment and expansion minefield.
He has been involved in assisting over 800 WA, Australian, and International companies to navigate the regulatory complexities of getting an agribusiness off the ground and through ongoing compliance over the past 25 years
He is driven by being a part of the continual growth of West Australian agriculture and the contribution it makes to the broader community.
Outside of work he is involved in involved in a range of community activities, including education, arts and sport. Being involved in the Catholic Education Commission, a life members of both the Narrogin Repertory Club and All Blacks Hockey Club.
He moved back to his hometown of Narrogin for a two year stint … 21 years ago!
James PATERAS – Modular Farms
After graduating from Deakin University, with a major in economics and finance, James fled his family’s farm in Victoria due to drought to work in banking for seven years. He wanted to find ways to integrate technology to create a better way for the future of farming. In 2016 James launched Modular Farms Australia, based in Brisbane they supply built-up Modular Farms to farmers and businesses across the Oceanic Region, in particular with a focus on many isolated, rural communities. The exclusive Modular Farm System is a complete indoor vertical farming system capable of producing fresh, healthy plants, 24 hours a day, virtually anywhere in the world, in any climate. Modular Farm units have a close-loop hydroponic system and are fully sealed for complete climate control, reducing water usage by up to 90 per cent. “Reducing food waste, increasing food security, and eliminating supply chain logistics to cut food miles are what we aim to do with Modular Farms technology.”
Dr Kelly PEARCE – Wheatbelt Science
Dr Kelly Pearce is a Grain and Prime Lamb Producer from Yealering in Western Australia along with her young family. Kelly has had a 16-year career in Agricultural Research and continues to coordinate a number of regional science and innovation projects through her regionally based business Wheatbelt Science Pty Ltd. Kelly is also a Director of Farmers Mutual Limited, 2012 Nuffield Scholar, Director of the Grower Group Alliance, Director of WAMIA, Committee member of the Corrigin Farm Improvement Group and Chair of the Digital Ag Collective.
Dr Kenneth SABIR – Agriwebb
For the past 21 years, Dr Kenneth Sabir has delivered leading-edge software products for top-tier research and development companies including IBM, Bell Labs, CSIRO, Canon Research and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. His love for coding has seen him in technical leadership roles in worldwide teams. He is currently the Head of Engineering at AgriWebb and is the longest serving employee after the founders.
Kenneth has 14 patents filed and 11 peer-reviewed research papers across diverse fields as database design, data visualisation techniques, stream processing, text-mining, bio-inspired computing and bioinformatics.
Kenneth completed his BE (Comp. Systems, 1st class honours) at the University of Technology and his PhD in Visual Analytics of Big Data at the University of Sydney.
Andrew SLADE – 2018 Nuffield Scholar
Andrew is the cropping and feedlot manager of his family’s 5500ha broadacre cropping and mixed livestock enterprise near Mount Barker, Western Australia. Andrew was awarded a 2018 Nuffield Scholarship, supported by CSBP and Integro Private Wealth, looking into the digitisation of agriculture and how best to integrate new and emerging digital technologies into existing farming systems.
Via her business endeavours at Strategy Matrix, Value Creators, and MVP Financial, Ann Maree is privileged to work with an exceptional range of innovative regional clients. She particularly relishes the chance to find strategic pathways through complexity and uncertainty. This “laser beam” approach enables effective focus and planning.
Luke WHEAT – Future Green Solutions Pty. Ltd.|
Luke is formally trained in Conservation Biology and Marine Science with a professional career has spanned across a range of industry, consultancy, conservation and government roles. Although spending many years working with and within the oil, gas and mining industry, his passion always lay with conservation and sustainability projects. However, realising that these grass roots programmes were often funding reliant and economically unsustainable, Luke began a quest to bridge the gap between environmental outcomes and economically sustainable business models. Luke is now at the helm of one of the most exciting commercial insect ventures in Australia looking to convert problematic organic waste into high value feeds and fertilisers.