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Nine individuals from around the country have been selected from a pool of applicants to participate in the 2022 cohort of the Australian Grain Leaders Program (AGLP).

The bespoke year-long program is run by peak grains representative body GrainGrowers and offers professional development training to emerging industry leaders.

The 2022 Australian Grain Leaders Program (AGLP) participants are:

  • Brett South - Beaumont, WA
  • Georgia Trainor - Mokine, WA
  • James Murray - Birchip, VIC
  • Joseph Koch - Booleroo Centre, SA
  • Katherine Munn - Wagga Wagga, NSW
  • Mike Surridge - Oaklands, NSW
  • Thomas Carberry - Narrabri, NSW
  • Thomas Simson - Premer, NSW
  • Sally Poole - Callandoon, QLD

“I always find it exciting to meet the emerging leaders who have decided to step forward and participate in the AGLP. To see the unique leadership and management skills develop in people taking part makes us proud and excited about the future leadership of our Australian grains industry,” says Kaitlin Leonard, GrainGrowers General Manager – Grower & Industry Development.

The AGLP has been running for over fourteen years. A key component of the program sees participants complete a project on how a farming business challenge or industry issue can be addressed.

GrainGrowers covers the cost of participants taking part in the year-long program as well as travel and accommodation expenses, which is often a barrier for those in regional locations wanting to participate in more traditional professional development programs. The 2022 program has been ‘pandemic-proofed’ to deliver outcomes even if COVID-19 restrictions continue.

About the 2022 Participants

Joseph Koch (Booleroo Centre, SA)

Joe is a 6th generation farmer, currently working in a family-owned mixed farming and reefinator business. Joe is also involved in a Precision Ag consulting partnership which he runs with his wife Jess. Joe’s AGLP project will be community focussed and based around ‘maintaining and encouraging rural community involvement whilst swimming against the tide of rural decline and contraction’.

Thomas Carberry (Narrabri, NSW)

Thomas is a fourth-generation farmer and has worked as an agronomist. His AGLP project will be to develop a farm and environmental management program/system for growers to operate at maximum efficiency achieving the best yielding results, by using the best industry practices and receiving a premium for their efforts.

Brett South (Beaumont, WA)

Brett is a grain farmer with a 5600ha continuous cropping program, who also formed a subcommittee within SEPWA, forming a Youth in Ag group bringing together young farmers and young industry professionals. His AGLP project will be based around ‘’building resilience’’ and creating a farming program that can face financial pressure, drought, frost, low grain prices, staffing issues, remoteness and looking at turning negatives in positives.

Thomas Simson (Premer, NSW)

Thomas is a fourth-generation farmer and is passionate about soil health. He is the Chair of AMPS Research, which is a privately funded grower group that conducts small plot trials to proof test new concepts and varieties across Northern NSW. His AGLP project would continue trialing and implementing soil health practices, in doing so would seek to find partnerships that recognizes these topics as beneficiaries of grain production and would build a credit-based system that rewards such practices.

Mike Surridge (Oaklands, NSW)

Mike originally hails from dairy farming in New Zealand and has now settled in Australia working in grain farm management. He currently mentors staff and has a big focus and passion for farm safety. His AGLP project will be Improving safety culture and improving staff retention in agriculture.

Sally Poole (Callandoon, QLD)

Sally’s passion for farming leaded her to study agriculture despite growing up in the city. She currently works as an agronomist and digital ag consultant with a particular focus on spatially understanding soil water holding properties and subsoil constraints and their impact on production. Her AGLP project will be focusing on increasing the engagement of growers and agronomist with sustainable practices and sustainability targets. She hopes to develop initiatives and strategies for industry bodies and groups to help get growers to better engage sustainability concepts and practices.

James Murray (Birchip, VIC)

James currently holding the position of Senior Research Manager within the Birchip Cropping Group has highlighted a desire to see young professionals within the agricultural industry develop into highly skilled people, with the skills to support grain growers and the grains industry more broadly. His AGLP project will be about regulations around climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

Katherine Munn (Wagga Wagga, NSW)

Currently working at InterGrain, Katherine is passionate about the profitable, long-term sustainability of the grains industry and she believes this starts with developing people capacity. Her AGLP project would developing a program where she can present to university and high school students about the opportunities in agriculture. To better understand all the career paths others have taken so that she can give confidence to the next generation of agri-professionals that there is something in agriculture for everyone.

Georgia Trainor (Mokine, WA)

Georgia currently works at InterGrain as a Territory Manager in the West Australian Wheatbelt. She grew up in Perth but family ties to farming drew her focus to Agriculture from an early age. Since completing her studies at Curtin University’s Muresk Campus, Georgia has spent the past 10 years living and working in rural WA. Her AGLP project will be to speak directly to growers and develop case studies to identify knowledge gaps when it comes to variety selection, and work with grain breeders to put together a webinar which will address these gaps in knowledge to producers.

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Hear from AGLP alumni

Learn more about the Australian Grain Leaders Program (AGLP) and hear what alumni have to say.
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