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Ten emerging grains professionals have been given a unique professional development opportunity through their announced selection today in the Australian Grain Leaders Program.

The bespoke year-long program run by peak grains representative body GrainGrowers offers professional development training for growers looking at future leadership roles in the grains industry.

The 2024 Australian Grain Leaders Program (AGLP) participants are:

• Jock Binnie – Bungeet, VIC

• Angus Dalgliesh – Dalby, QLD

• Timothy Eckert – Meningie, SA

• Matthew Hyde – Dalwallinu, WA

• Mikaela Jericho – Lochiel, SA

• Jack Langley – Narrandera, NSW

• Thomas Moloney – Jerilderie, NSW

• Renae Piggott – Bindoon, WA

• James Russell – Lilliput, VIC

• Ellah Thompson – Armidale, NSW

GrainGrowers CEO Shona Gawel welcomed the new program members and said she was excited by the possibilities within the group.

“The long-standing intention with the program is to develop the capacity of young growers and agricultural professionals to help shape the future of Australian grains. Each new cohort represents potential and possibility, and I am encouraged by the passion and enthusiasm they all bring to the table.”

To maximise impact, the course is highly customised and includes:

• Face-to-face group workshops.

• Field visits.

• Coaching sessions.

• Training and integration with industry participants and events.

Ms Gawel said participants undertake a project addressing a specific challenge in one of GrainGrowers’ six priority areas: trade and market access; grain freight and supply chains; workforce; biosecurity; carbon and climate; and farm inputs.

Since its inception over 16 years ago, the GrainGrowers program has built an alumni of 139 participants and delivered graduates prepared to step up and take on local, state and national leadership roles.

Background information on the new participants is included below.

Angus Dalgleish – Dalby, QLD
Angus Dalgliesh is an agronomist with Nutrien Ag solutions in Dalby and fourth generation farmer on his family farm at Brigalow, QLD. Angus currently works within the grains and cotton industries and has a strong passion for helping farming businesses succeed. Angus’s family farming experience allows additional understanding of farming systems and how volatile things can be, providing further knowledge and input to help farmers manage their resources and maximise their businesses productivity, sustainability, and overall profitability. Angus wishes to push further into the sustainability and carbon spaces and explore potential opportunities and watchouts for farmers looking to invest in future projects.

Jock Binnie – Bungeet, VIC
Jock Binnie is a fifth-generation grower based on a family run farm in North-East Victoria at Bungeet near Yarrawonga with another property in the Riverina, NSW. Jock and his family predominantly grow canola, wheat, vetch and faba beans. Jock is interested in improving on-farm efficiencies to get the most out of people and equipment.

Timothy Eckert – Meningie, SA
Tim is a grower working within the family farm located in the upper Southeast of South Australia. Being a mixed enterprise of cropping, livestock and hay, Tim left school in 2011 with plenty of opportunity to come straight home onto the farm. Over the years he has developed a keen interest on the cropping side and spend the majority of his time there. He enjoys being involved within his local community trial site exploring new varieties and finding solutions to current issues faced in the grains industry.

Matthew Hyde – Dalwallinu, WA
Matthew Hyde is a fifth-generation grower based in Dalwallinu, Western Australia. He grew up on his family farm before going to Perth for high school and university to study agribusiness. Matthew currently manages the farm alongside his parents Harry and Jane, where they produce a mixture of broadacre crops including wheat, lupins, canola and field peas. Matthew finds the opportunity to further the family business an immense privilege, providing him with the platform to develop a wide variety of skills in both the business and scientific arenas. He is interested in exploring risk, people’s attitude toward it and how those attitudes shapes their decision making. Aside from work, he is a self-proclaimed ordinary but keen fullback for his local football club and enjoys the tight-knit community country sport fosters.

Mikaela Jericho – Lochiel, SA
Mikaela is a dedicated agribusiness professional, currently working for Elders as the Technical Services Coordinator, supporting the national agronomy network and specialised advisory services. In 2020, she completed a Bachelor of Agribusiness through the University of New England whilst simultaneously working full time in grain marketing. Her career trajectory led her from grain marketing to a pivotal role in Business Development with Elders before assuming her current position. Driven by a passion for fostering a sustainable future for the Australian grains industry, Mikaela firmly believes that enhancing resilience in rural communities is integral to this pursuit. Committed to continuous learning, she is currently pursuing a Graduate Certificate
in Agricultural Consulting, aiming to acquire the skills necessary for delivering farm business management advice. This endeavour reflects her dedication to assisting growers in establishing profitable and sustainable agricultural enterprises. Residing on a broadacre and sheep property in South Australia’s mid-north, Mikaela gains invaluable insights into industry challenges, viewing them from the unique perspective of both producer and professional.

Jack Langley – Narrandera, NSW
Jack is a rural solicitor in Narrandera, NSW practising primarily in commercial law, farm transition planning and succession. In addition to his work as a solicitor, Jack is a volunteer Director and current Chairman of Narrandera District Investments Limited, the operating company of Bendigo Bank Narrandera & District with a key focus on boosting economic development in the area. In his spare time, Jack is also involved in his family’s mixed cereal cropping and merino sheep enterprise. With deep roots in the region, Jack is a motivated advocate for the agricultural community. He is especially passionate about rural and regional Australia, family farming enterprises, and what agriculture has to offer for the next generation.

Thomas Moloney – Jerilderie, NSW
Thomas Moloney is a fifth-generation grower from Jerilderie, NSW. Thomas currently works on his family’s Southern Riverina & Central West NSW properties where they grow a variety of winter and summer crops, on both dryland and irrigation. Post secondary school, Thomas attended university to study Business & Finance. Following his studies, he was employed in the NAB Melbourne Corporate Agribusiness Team. His time in the finance industry, in conjunction with his current role as a Farm Manager has allowed him to develop an in depth understanding of the financial challenges growers can be faced with. Thomas hopes to use his time in the AGLP to research unfavourable market conditions that growers may be exposed to and provide strategies to assist in the mitigation of risk brought about by unfavourable market conditions.

Renae Piggott – Bindoon, WA
Renae Piggott comes from a family farming background in the northern wheatbelt of WA, currently working as a farm management consultant at AgAsset. She works with family farms to help them develop more sustainable and profitable businesses. She has a strong passion for empowering the younger generation of farmers to get involved in the decisionmaking of the business and understand their financial ratios to allow them to be confident
in their business. Renae has worked alongside the Drought Hub initiative to bring the perspective of different growers from all around the Wheatbelt to the table to help create research that is relevant to the high input and drying climate of broad-acre agriculture.

James Russell – Lilliput, VIC
James is a fifth-generation grower from the Northeast region of Victoria, on the outskirts of the town of Rutherglen. James recently completed a dual degree in Agribusiness and Farm Production. Following this, he has ventured into the world of corporate banking, embarking on a new career path in the rural finance sector. This transition has provided James with fresh perspectives on the agricultural industry, enriching his knowledge in anticipation of his return to the family farm in the coming decade. James’s personal fervour lies in the growth and prosperity of the agricultural sector. As a result, he has actively engaged with various agricultural extension organizations, immersing himself in advocacy, grower development, research, and extension to broaden
my understanding of the facets of agriculture.

Ellah Thompson – Armidale, NSW
Hailing from a cropping farm on the south-west slopes of NSW, Ellah was introduced to the grains industry early on in life. She then went on to complete a Business degree at UNE with a double major in Agribusiness and Management, which armed her with the tools to immerse herself even further into the agricultural industry. While completing her studies, she joined Impact Ag Partners, an asset management company based in Armidale, NSW. Through her employment she has gained experience across an array of operations and regions honing her skills in financial management and industry research. Ellah hopes in future that she can continued to build her knowledge across all aspects of the ag industry with a particular expertise in grains.