Paul Higgins - Opening Plenary

Paul Higgins is a Futurist with Emergent Futures. He holds a First Class Honours Degree in Veterinary Science, a Bachelor of Animal Science (Research) and a Masters Degree in Strategic Foresight.

Paul is a graduate of the Leadership Victoria Program. Paul is a venture philanthropy partner at Social Ventures Partners Melbourne, and lead partner for their first investment in 100 Story Building. Paul is also a Chair of the advisory board for the Future Business Council, and has served on a number of commercial and not for profit boards.

Paul writes and presents regularly on future disruptions to business models, and consults to a range of organisations on how to think about the future. He is currently co-authoring a book on the future of driverless vehicles entitled:

Is Driverless Always More – How driverless vehicles will transform our economies and our societies.

Warren Davies - The Unbreakable Farmer

Resilience, Persistence, and Determination are the words to describe Warren Davies also he is a husband, father of 5, son, brother, mate, and normal bloke down the road.

His keynote topics are centred on resilience, persistence, determination, leadership and wellbeing, their moral relevant to all ages and communities.  Warren’s ability to engage with individuals or organisations is through the journey of him piecing back together his life and the life lessons he learned along the way. His down to earth approach makes his story and strategies relevant whether you are from the country or the city, a farmer or the CEO of a large corporation.

Warren’s authentic, inspiring and sometimes confronting presentations are filled with take home strategies developed from his business and life journey, that his audience can implement in their day to day life to overcome challenges or pick themselves up and keep moving forward. His message is simple and so very important at a time when stress is seen as normal and depression is commonplace. Warren will change the thinking and behavior of your most precious resource, your people.

You must hear his story.

Frederick Bellow - University of Illinois

Dr. Below creates strategies to teach farmers and agricultural professionals the value of crop management decisions and develops systems to sustainably produce high-yielding corn and soybeans. He evaluates environmental, genetic, and management factors that impact the productivity of corn and soybeans.

Dr Below is Proudly Sponsored by:

Mark Congreve - Consultant

Mark is a senior consultant with Independent Consultants Australia Network (ICAN), primarily conducting research and extension for the grains and cotton industry.

Prior to 2012, Mark spent almost 25 years involved with development and commercialisation of agricultural chemical and biotech solutions for two of the leading global research and development multinational companies. During this time, he was heavily focused on solutions for summer crops and cotton.

In recent years Mark’s focus has been largely around extension and training of agronomists and growers – particularly concentrating on herbicide resistance, best pesticide herbicide use, integrated weed management (IWM) and integrated pest management (IPM) and issues associated with spray drift. Mark is the lead author for a number of technical manuals, videos and factsheets developed for the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

Mark has witnessed significant industry change with regard to chemical use in summer crops over his 30-year career and will share these learnings and explore some of the macro trends that are likely to influence pesticide use in the coming 10-15 years.

Closing Plenary - Betoota Advocate

The Betoota Advocate is a small and independent regional publication from far-west Queensland and lays claim to being Australia’s oldest newspaper. Based in the Queensland Channel Country, The Advocate and its editors Clancy Overell and Errol Parker, pride themselves on reporting upon the news and current affairs without fear or favour. Since making the transition to the online space, the paper has grown from strength to strength, boasting more readers than publications like The Australian and the Fin Review, without having to desert their regional base.

Editor Clancy Overell is a passionate regional journalist with over 40 years experience in the newsroom. After working as a ringer, tent boxer, fencer and roo-shooter over the years, Clancy moved into the industry after his father, who ran the paper at the time promised him a job. Like all good media dynasties, Clancy has followed in his father’s footsteps and steered the paper through changing times and climates.

Editor-at-large Errol Parker, along with Clancy, has helped guide The Advocate into the online world and managed to hire rather than fire journalists during this difficult time for media companies. Errol joined the paper nearly a decade ago after fleeing the UK following his role in the News of The World ‘phone hacking scandal.’



Emma Ayliffe, co-owner “Summit Ag”

Emma Ayliffe is a twenty-something-year-old agronomist based in the Riverina and Central West of New South Wales. She is the co-owner of Agronomic and Research Business “Summit Ag” consulting to both irrigated and dryland farmers aiming to improve growers production systems and bottom line to ensure that they are sustainable into the future as well as conducting industry and on-farm trials to test new ideas and products. On top of this her and her partner Craig own and operate a small dryland farm in the central west cropping and producing first crop lambs, is the Vice-Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership Team which helps to give agriculture a voice to the wider community and Runner-up in the 2017/18 ADAMA Young Agronomist of the Year.

Her career path had foundations with iconic agribusiness company Elders, as an agronomist under the mentoring of well-respected Elders senior agronomist in the Riverina, Heath McWhirter. Emmas’ agronomy career fast-tracked through her dedication to excellence in advisory services to her current position today as a partner in her private consultancy firm. She is an inspiration to all young people starting out in the industry and demonstrates the possibilities of achieving the dream of private consultancy.   

Josh Squibb, Agronomist

Josh Squibb is a 24-year-old Agronomist based in Southeast Queensland who is consulting to a wide range of cropping segments, including Intensive Horticulture, Grains, Pasture and Perennial Horticulture. Josh works alongside irrigated and dryland farmers, and is passionate about trying to improve productivity, product quality, and overall profitability for his clients through the adoption of new technology, Precision Ag, as well as a keen focus on Integrated Pest Management.

Originating from Tasmania, Josh was employed by iconic Agribusiness company Elders in March 2016 as a Graduate Agronomist based in Gatton, QLD and participated in the Elders Graduate Program. Following the completion of his Horticulture placement in September 2017, Josh transitioned into an Agronomy role with Elders based at Kalbar, QLD, where he is currently still placed and has become a valued member of the Queensland Agronomy Team. Whilst being a participant of the Elders Graduate Program, Josh was mentored under the guidance of well-respected Elders Agronomists Jason Blackwood, Andrew Richards, and Greg Teske.

Josh is an emerging leader within the Vegetable and Grains industry and is committed to investigating new products and concepts, not only for the benefit of his own clients, but also the industry as a whole. Josh is currently evaluating the benefits of biological Stubble Digesters, and their interaction with soil microbiology and following crop health.

You can follow Josh on Twitter: @JJSquibb