Sheep Producers of Australia candidates set for new peak sheep meat board

Sheep Central, November 7, 2017

STATE farming organisation delegates will elect the inaugural board of Sheep Producers Australia in Perth next week, replacing the peak body, the Sheepmeat Council of Australia.

The SCA will transition into SPA at an inaugural annual general meeting at Perth’s Parmelia Hilton on November 14, with the election of the first SPA board directors from a field of five candidates announced today.

The five candidates selected for election at the SPA AGM include Michael Craig from Harrow in Victoria; Jamie Heinrich from Kangaroo Island, South Australia; Ian McColl from Koorawatha, New South Wales; Bindi Murray from Woodanilling, Western Australia; and Allan Piggott from Moorlands, South Australia.

If elected, these five candidates will be the inaugural board directors of the SPA skills-based board. Under the skills-based board structure, it is not necessary to have candidates from every state.

SCA chief executive officer Dr Kat Giles said the SPA board can have a minimum of four members and a maximum of nine, seven can come from the members (the state farming organisations) and two must be independent. She said each state represented at the inaugural SPA meeting will each have 200 votes to vote for the candidates. In Western Australia, with two state members — WAFarmers and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA — the vote split is 150 for WAFarmers and 50 for PGA of WA. Voting is based on a first past the post system.

“Once they have a board formed, they will elect a chair and have a discussion and make a decision about when they want to recruit independent directors.”

The initial SPA members are from the SFOs, but there is constitutional provisions for organisational members and individual members once the structure is established, Dr Giles said.

The SPA board candidates were finalised by a board selection committee made up of Red Meat Advisory Council chairman Don Mackay, Meat & Livestock Australia chair Dr Michele Allan, Animal Health Australia chairman Peter Milne and independent chairman Polly Trefort.

Sheep producers Australia to be governed by a skills-based board

Dr Giles said, under the new structure, the board selection committee reviewed member-nominated candidates and made recommendations against selection criteria.

“Sheep Producers Australia is to be governed by a skills-based board.

“The selection committee assessment of candidates included determining an appropriate balance of skills and competencies to enable the board to effectively carry out its role,” she said.

“In addition to the board, policy committees will operate in key areas such as marketing, market access and trade; health and welfare; product integrity; research, development and adoption; and industry leadership and community engagement.”

SCA said the inaugural annual general meeting of Sheep Producers Australia Limited at 3pm on Tuesday November 14 will mark the start of a new era of advocacy and governance for the sheep meat industry.

The decision to transition from Sheepmeat Council of Australia (an incorporated association) to a new governance framework was announced following a special general meeting of the members in August. Sheep Producers Australia, a company limited by guarantee, will be officially launched following the AGM on November 14.

The transitional SCA board directors — Jeff Murray, David Boyle, John Wallace, Allan Piggott, Rupert Gregg, Michael Craig, Chris Wallace-Smith, Ron Cullen, Chris Kemp and Mark Murphy – who led the structural changes, will resign at ne3xt week’s annual general meeting.

Biographies of the SPA board candidates

Michael Craig

Michael, with his wife and two boys, manages a broadacre mixed livestock business located at Harrow, in western Victoria. He started farming in 2000, and has focused on innovation to improve productivity and ease of management. Currently all 24,000 sheep and 900 cattle have complete lifetime traceability through electronic identification. Initially his business and interests focused on wool production, but over time the innovations being adopted in the sheep meat sector, led to diversifying his business to include a sheep meat focus and improving knowledge about the sheep meat value chain. This change led to Michael completing a Nuffield Scholarship in 2016 titled, Australian Lamb/Sheepmeat – Commodity or Premium Product? The challenge of moving from a supply chain to a value chain. Michael has been a member of the VFF Livestock Council, and an SCA director. He has undertaken the Australian Institute of Company Directors course and held director positions for family businesses. Michael also holds a Bachelor in Commerce and a Diploma in Financial Markets.

Jamie Heinrich

Jamie works with his parents on their 880ha sheep farm Ella Matta on Kangaroo Island in South Australia, which comprises a White Suffolk, Poll Merino and maternal composite seed-stock operation. The main focus of the seed-stock operation is increasing genetic gain through the use of LAMBPLAN and MERINOSELECT. The other part of the business is a commercial self-replacing 18.5-micron ewe flock. He completed a Bachelor of Business (International Business) with a sub-major in marketing at the University of South Australia. Following this, he worked for three years at Thomas Foods International in its meat export and livestock departments. In 2014, Jamie was selected as the Sheepmeat Council of Australia Youth Ambassador, and over three years has worked to forge relationships in international markets and to build leadership capability in the sheep industry. Jamie holds a position on the Livestock SA board and on the Ag Kangaroo Island board. Jamie is currently undertaking a Nuffield Scholarship on ‘Key factors needed to attract and retain young people in the sheep industry’. He completed the Sheepmeat Council of Australia ‘Governance in Action’ Course in 2016.

Ian McColl

Ian owns and manages a mixed farming enterprise at Koorawatha, NSW, producing up to 2000 lambs and 100 steers annually. In 2017, he entered into a joint venture lot feeding lambs. Ian’s experience as a past president of Sheepmeat Council of Australia, Red Meat Advisory Council director, National Farmers’ Federation member and Safemeat Partner has given him a diverse knowledge of sheep industry systems, markets, market access and food safety. He also sits on the Central West Landcare board, and hold NSW Farmers executive council and committee positions. Ian’s experience and depth of knowledge of animal health, welfare and biosecurity systems has been affirmed through his roles as chair of the NSW Farmers Biosecurity Committee, vice chair of the Johnes Disease Taskforce, SCA Animal Health and Welfare Committee member and a long-term representative to the committee for National Livestock Identification System for Sheep & Goat Committee.  Ian was an active leader through the reform of the National Ovine Johnes Disease changes in 2013, the changes to the live export industry through the implementation of ESCAS, the development of the Sheep Industry Strategic Plan 2020 and part of the industry negotiations for key free trade agreements, particularly with China.

Bindi Murray

Bindi is a commercial sheep producer at Woodanilling, Western Australia, running about 6500 Merino ewes as part of the wool enterprise and 2000 Merino ewes mated to terminal sires. The enterprise provides to local processors as well as the live export market, and works constructively to improve through strong relationships and developing knowledge of the supply chain as a whole. Bindi’s belief that science is at the heart of agriculture led her to complete a Bachelor of Animal Science, where she focused her Honours thesis on the link between high wool production and meat quality. She has also been a research officer for breech-strike trial projects, and now a regular host of producer trials and technical updates. Bindi has also taken on the Chair of LambEx 2018 organising committee, with a view to ensuring that producers are provided with good science and practical solutions. She is a Board Director of the WA Meat Industry Authority Board. Her involvement in advocacy has been an important aspect of Bindi’s career. She has held roles as a policy director, Pastoralists and Graziers Association Committee Member and involvement in national policy issues, such as traceability. In undertaking these roles Bindi has also built business development skills through small business management studies. She has completed the SCA Governance in Action course, the Company Directors Course run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is currently undertaking the Rabobank Executive Leaders program.

Allan Piggott

Allan and wife Sue own and manage a farming business and the Illoura White Suffolk stud at Moorlands, South Australia, run across 2000 hectares and annually selling 600 White Suffolk rams for the prime lamb industry. Allan’s roles in the industry have included SCA vice president, inaugural SA Sheep Industry Blueprint Working Group chairman, chair of the SA Regional Committee of Southern Australian Meat Research Council, the LambEx 2014 organising committee and the Australian White Suffolk Association. Allan completed the Applied Science course at Roseworthy Agricultural College, and has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors Company Directors Course. He currently holds a board position with Livestock SA and is an executive councillor of the Royal Adelaide Show Society. He has previously been the chair of numerous Natural Resource Management groups and held board positions with South Australia Sheep Advisory Group and SA Murray Darling Basin Natural Resource Management Board.


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  1. Jock MacRae, November 8, 2017

    Great. How do I vote?

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