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Nine prominent grains industry representatives have been selected to participate in the innovative Grains Social Leadership Program (GSLP) for 2022.

The high-level program works with those who are keen to share the story of Australian grains. The program further equips individuals with the leadership and communications skills to engage in meaningful conversations with all parts of the community.

GSLP is part of GrainGrowers’ five-year mission to build a ‘Grains100’ list, consisting of 100 progressive grower leaders who will build the social licence and sustainability of the Australian grains industry by sharing their unique experiences as food producers.

The program works with a small, bespoke group of individuals who are passionate about grain farming and believe they can affect real change in the sector and broader Australian community.

“The GSLP is about ensuring grain farmers are powerful voices for our industry, and channelling awareness and understanding across Australian communities,” says Kaitlin Leonard, General Manager Grower & Industry Development. “We’ve seen the impact growers sharing what is happening on their farms can have and how appreciated it is by so many people who might not have known the how’s and whys around grain production previously.”

Growers taking part in the 2022 GSLP:

  • Kate Burke, Echuca VIC
  • Julia Hausler, Warracknabeal VIC
  • Sam Starcevich, Salmon Gums WA
  • Katrina Sasse, Morawa WA
  • Jo Ashworth, Goodlands WA
  • Sam Burgess, Arthur River WA
  • Stuart McIntyre, West Prairie QLD
  • Tom Michael, Barunga Gap SA
  • Kelly Lund, Clermont QLD
About the 2022 Participants

Kate Burke, Echuca VIC

Dr Kate Burke is an educator and agri-strategist with specialist knowledge in corporate farming, crop production and direct investment in farmland and farm people dynamics. Founding Think Agri Pty Ltd in 2015, Kate is a rare breed who can speak the languages of science, commerce, practical farming and people. Kate recently published Crops People Money and You, The Art of Excellent Farming and Better Returns and is the author of Think Agri Real Insights, a monthly audio and digital publication that digs deep into the success factors of highly profitable and sustainable farm businesses. Kate contributes her thought leadership regularly to various rural publications and to The Guardian Newspaper.

Julia Hausler, Warracknabeal VIC

Julia Hausler runs a mixed farming operation in the Wimmera region of Victoria and is a Board Director of GrainGrowers. With over 20 years’ experience in agriculture including expertise in marketing, accumulation, education, financing and rural policy, Julia’s contribution to industry has been acknowledged with her inclusion in the inaugural 100 Women in Australian Agribusiness Awards. Julia is the Vice Chair of the Rural NorthWest Health Board and is also a member of the Birchip Cropping Group research Committee. Julia was selected to take part in the Australian Rural Leadership Program in 2012-2013.

Sam Starcevich, Salmon Gums WA

Sam Starcevich is the co-founder of the charity Farmers Across Borders and is passionate about helping other farmers in need. After enduring five consecutive tough seasons and feeling like she had hit rock bottom, Salmon Gums farmer Sam turned her misfortunes into motivation to help other farmers. In 2014 she co-founded the charity Farmers Across Borders (FAB) with her friend Anne Bell, which has organised many hay deliveries to farmers and pastoralists across Australia.

Katrina Sasse, Morawa WA

Katrina Sasse is a farmer with Agribusiness Banking experience and Bachelor degrees in Agricultural Economics and Commerce. She undertook research through a Nuffield Farming Scholarship funded by the GRDC in 2017 and am now running and managing the family farm as well as her own. She is also the Chair Morawa Farm Improvement Group (2016-2021), a 2017 finalist for WA Rural Young Achiever Award, a 2017 semi-finalist WA Regional Achievement and Community Award and a Blog writer for Bayer Crop Science on Rural women.

Jo Ashworth, Goodlands WA

Jo Ashworth is a farmer and has developed the ‘Growing Family Farms business’, which aims to help other farming families grow their businesses by facilitating programmes that will opentheir mindsets, and allow them to reach their potential. She is currently vice chair at Kalannie Community Resource Centre and works passionately on community building.Jo’s farms are located in the Goodlands, and Kalannie area, and are run within her family. She has led the Growing Kalannie Project which offers and promotes inclusive, wide scope opportunities to community members to complete traineeships and apprenticeships. This recognised training helps youth and potential new community members to consider remaining in or returning to Kalannie. She was also a 2020 finalist in the WA Rural Women’s Awards.

Sam Burgess, Arthur River WA

Hailing from the Riverina in NSW originally, Sam Burgess is now a grain and sheep farmer in Arthur River WA producing canola, barley and oats, as well being as an Ag Contractor on the side. Sam is passionate about Rural Mental health and has now also offered support to youth groups to create awareness for mental health.

Stuart McIntyre, West Prairie QLD

Stuart is a fourth-generation grain grower on the black soil plains of the central Darling Downs. He grows Sorghum, Wheat and Barley on his group of properties that comprise of 1600ha. Before moving back to the family farm 10 years ago, Stuart gained previous experience in Business Management (North Queensland), Accounting (Southern Queensland) and an electrical trade specialising in Solar Energy. His interests are maintaining and improving practices in sustainability (including carbon), market access, and supporting smaller producers in a much larger industry. Affordable farming technology and input costs for the family farming enterprise are also key issues of interest. Stuart is also a member of the GrainGrowers Northern Region National Policy Group.

Tom Michael, Barunga Gap SA

Thomas Michael is a grower from Barunga Gap that believesgrain growers have got a great story to tell and our connection to our local customers is breaking down as Australia becomes more urban and Tom would like some of these stories to roll over into the community. He is very passionate about social license, having the community support to use modern farming techniques and best practice to make us the most efficient, economic grain producers.

Kelly Lund, Clermont QLD

Kelly’s family operation, Lund Grain, has farms located near Clermont in Central Queensland and in the Burdekin region of tropical North Queensland. They farm approximately 10,000 ha including approximately 700 ha of irrigation and have additional country under grazing. Prior to returning to the grains industry, Kelly spent 10 years working in communications across large Agri Corporates including Syngenta, Rabobank and GrainCorp and enjoyed a stint as an ABC rural reporter earlier on in her career. Key issues that Kelly is passionate about are better research and agronomy focussed on tropical cropping, continued work on developing international markets, particularly out of Queensland ports and women being better targeted to take on farming as a career.

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Hear from GSLP alumni

Learn more about the Grains Social Leadership Program (GSLP) and hear what alumni have to say.
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