National Policy Group

GrainGrowers' National Policy Group is made up of 15 growers from three major grain growing regions in Australia. 

The Northern region encompasses Queensland and Northern New South Wales, the Southern region encompasses Southern New South Wales and Victoria and the Western Region encompasses South Australia and Western Australia.

The National Policy Group meets several times a year in person. Members also teleconference regularly to debate the important issues coming up throughout the year. 

NATional Policy Group members

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Emma thomas

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Emma is a grain and livestock producer in central NSW, she also provides consultancy services to farm businesses and takes pride in working at an industry level to represent grower issues with national organisations. Emma is also active in her local community and chairs the regional peak body for Landcare, as well as participating on the Regional Development Authority Central West. Emma holds a Masters in Environmental Business Management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Emma is a member of the Ag Institute of Australia. Emma is passionate about regional Australia, with a particular interest in Highlighting agricultural opportunities for Australian farmers, such as value adding to current enterprises and access to skilled labour for farms.

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cameron parker

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Cameron operates a hay contracting business at Boort VIC, with his wife Amanda. He also works on a family grain farming operation. Cameron is keen to grow his business and further develop share-farming and collaboration arrangements. Cameron is a passionate advocate for the grains industry and agriculture generally. He is a part of the AgriEducate team, and represents young people in agriculture in the VFF YAPs committee, and is an alumnus of the Grain Grower’s Australian Grain Farm Leaders Program.

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bob mccormack, nsw

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Bob and his wife operate a cropping and livestock enterprise, including some seed production, on their property at Winchendonvale which is 60 km north of Wagga. He also operates a pump business that services a large part of NSW and Northern Victoria. This places him in a fortunate position of meeting with many different growers and mixed farmers, which he particularly enjoys. Bob was a foundation member of the Hard and Soft Wheat Growers Association, a member of The Committee of Advice, a member of the Regional Policy Group and now a member of the National Policy Group. The experience of being a grain producer, a contractor and business person, has given him a broad range of skills to bring to a position on the National Policy Group.

tristan baldock

tristan baldock,  SA

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Tristan operates a 5,500ha cropping enterprise at Buckleboo in South Australia with his wife and parents. He has also spent more than a decade as an agronomist providing technical advice to growers on the Eyre Peninsula. Tristan is passionate about agriculture and the challenge that has been given to feed the world in a way that is sustainable for our finite resources, as well as being safe and enjoyable for employees. He considers the search for and adoption of new practices to always be a driver, and has an ongoing role within the Buckleboo Farm Improvement Group committee. Tristan has also served on Bushfire Management Committees for several years, providing input into land management and community preparedness policy.

mark hoskinson

Mark hoskinson, NSW

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Mark is a family farmer in Kikoira with 30 years of experience in grower representation as well as skills from the military and community leadership. Mark previously served 10 years on the Committee of advice representing GrainGrowers members. For 10 years Mark also served on the NSW Farmers Executive Council sharing with other members the work load in progressing members policy and concentrating his efforts on grain related policy, he was also the Chairman of the Grains Committee for 4 years until reaching the constitutional maximum.

Mark is keen to see the development of Grass root Policy direction as well as maximising tangible benefits and advocacy for our members.

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Colin Nicholl,  WA

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A former President of WAFF, Mr Nicholl farms 5200ha near Hyden in Western Australia. He holds a Diploma in Agriculture and an Advanced Diploma in Agribusiness Management. Mr Nicholl has been involved in a wide range of successful negotiations to make it easier for farmers to do business including rail network reforms and making exceptional circumstances payments available to farmers in WA. Mr Nicholl is particularly interested in promoting the use of Australian grain both here and overseas and ensuring government and other industry players invest in the best infrastructure, transport and storage systems available. 

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Kallum Blake, WA

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Kallum Blake has served Western Australian growers through several active representational roles on the Western Australian Farmers Federation (WAFF). He is currently Grains Council Representative for the Central Great Southern Zone. Prior to this appointment, Kallum was the Young Farmers Representative on the WAFF Grains Council for three years. In 2015 Kallum nominated for a position and was elected to the WAFarmers board. After completing his degree in agribusiness at the Muresk Institute, Kallum completed the undergraduate program with ANZ Bank before returning to the family farm in 2009.

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Michael Hunt, SA

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Mr Hunt has been involved in grain production for more than 30 years. During that time he has become adept at grain marketing for both domestic and international grain markets. Mr Hunt has also been an active representative in his community, regularly attending local SAFF meetings. Mr Hunt is particularly passionate about the impact changing receival standards are having on time poor farmers and the scaling back of research funding.

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Ian Gourley, NSW

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Ian Gourley is a grain and cotton  farmer from Narrabri, 550 kilometres north west of Sydney, New South Wales.  Ian and his family, farm up to 8,000 hectares of wheat, chickpeas, faba bean and cotton each year. After completing a degree in Economics at Macquarie University in Sydney, Ian worked for several years with ConAgra in their Sydney office trading grains and protein meals before returning to manage the farm in 2000. He is actively involved in the marketing of his grain, selling into all markets including domestic stock feeds direct to sheep farmers and feedlots, the international container trade and the bulk export market. Apart from membership of NPG, Ian performs several other agricultural industry roles through the Dryland Cotton Research Association and the Standards Committee for Pulse Australia. Ian is passionate about improving the logistics of grain movements in Australia and maintaining Australia’s strong reputation as an international wheat exporter. 

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KEITH harris, NSW   

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For the past 10 years Keith has managed the Romani Pastoral Company’s northern properties including Windy Station. Windy Station is a 20,000 hectare property on the Liverpool Plains – almost 10,000 ha is cropped. In recent years Keith has been operating as a private consultant for Romani – after semi-retiring from full-time employment. He is passionate about agriculture and has a long history of representing growers on various committees. Keith spent the past four years as a GRDC Northern Panel member – during which time he thoroughly enjoyed meeting and engaging with growers. Keith is also a Director on the Board of the Local Land Services for north west NSW.

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Terry FISHPOOL, NSW

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Terry and his family run a Merino sheep and grain farming enterprise at Tottenham NSW. Terry has driven changes that have improved the profitability and sustainability of farming in this area, including retaining the Tottenham-Bogan Gate rail line during the ‘option 3’ closures and the abolishment of the NSW Central Zone for grain receivals. This change returned more than $1 million to local farmers in the first year. Terry was a member of the former GrainGrowers Advice and Regional Committee and is a current NSW Farmers Grains Committee and Executive Council member. Terry sees priority issues for the industry as infrastructure investment, grain classification, setting receival standards, the management of industry-good services and the promotion of Australian grain.

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Bruce Schwartz, NSW

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Bruce runs a mixed farming operation (predominantly grain) at Biniguy, Northern NSW in partnership with his wife Julie and son Brad. Bruce uses CTF and yield mapping in a minimum tillage and no tillage summer winter crop rotation and has more than 40 years involvement in the grains industry. He has extensive local, state and national grain industry networks.

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Peter Thompson, QLD

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Peter Thompson operates a 7500 ha mixed cattle and dryland cropping enterprise near Roma, Queensland, in partnership with his wife, Nikki. He integrates productive and ecologically sustainable agriculture harmoniously with energy production as well as on property carbon sequestration. Peter loves technology and machinery and sees high speed connectivity property-wide as essential to modern farming. He is a farmer who is passionate about agriculture’s valuable contribution to the wellbeing of people and society.

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Steve Tilbrook, WA

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Steve, is currently  Chairman of the Grains Industry of Western Australia's Barley Council, and on the executive for South Eastern Premium Wheatgrowers Association. Steve farms at Mt Madden in WA, 480Km South East from Perth and 240 km North West of Esperance. Steve also has experience in succession planning and is passionate about agriculture and keeping Australian farmers at the forefront of technology. 

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RICHARD RICE, NSW

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Richard runs a mixed farming operations with his two brothers located at Cookamidgera, south east of Parkes NSW. Richard uses CTF no tillage practices in their winter cropping program. While also running a self-replacing merino flock and first cross lamb enterprise and Black Angus cattle. Richard has a strong agronomy and grain marketing background with over 15 years’ experience, Richard is passionate about developing the long term strong of the Australian Grain industry.  He is graduate of the GrainGrowers' Australian Future Grain Leaders Program and is the NSW Chair of Partners in Grain (PinG).