Board candidates announced ahead of first Sheep Producers Australia AGM

The inaugural Annual General Meeting of Sheep Producers Australia Limited will be held on Tuesday 14 November, marking the start of a new era of advocacy and governance for the sheepmeat industry.

The decision to transition from Sheepmeat Council of Australia (an incorporated association) to a new governance framework was announced following a special general meeting of the members in August. Sheep Producers Australia, a company limited by guarantee, will be officially launched following the AGM on November 14.

The Transitional Board Directors, including Jeff Murray, David Boyle, John Wallace, Allan Piggott, Rupert Gregg, Michael Craig, Chris Wallace-Smith, Ron Cullen, Chris Kemp and Mark Murphy, have led the changes. These Directors will resign at the AGM after many years of service to the SCA and the sheep industry.

Five candidates have been provided for election at the AGM – Michael Craig, Harrow, Victoria; Jamie Heinrich, Kangaroo Island, SA; Ian McColl, Koorawatha, NSW; Bindi Murray, Woodanilling, WA; and Allan Piggott, Moorlands, SA.

If elected, these five candidates will be the inaugural board directors of the SPA skills-based board.

SCA CEO Dr Kat Giles said, under the new structure, a Board Selection Committee reviewed member-nominated candidates and made recommendations against selection criteria.

“Sheep Producers Australia is to be governed by a skills-based board. The selection committee assessment of candidates included determining an appropriate balance of skills and competencies to enable the board to effectively carry out its role,” Dr Giles said.

“In addition to the board, policy committees will operate in key areas such as Marketing, Market Access and Trade; Health and Welfare; Product Integrity; Research, Development and Adoption; and Industry Leadership and Community Engagement.”

The initial members are state members (state farming organisations), with provision for organisational members and individual members once the structure is established.

Biographies of the board candidates are:

Michael Craig
Michael, with his wife and two boys, manages a broadacre mixed livestock business located at Harrow, in western Victoria. He started farming in 2000, and has focused on innovation to improve productivity and ease of management. Currently all 24,000 sheep and 900 cattle have complete lifetime traceability through electronic identification. Initially his business and interests focused on wool production, but over time the innovations being adopted in the sheepmeat sector, led to diversifying his business to include a sheepmeat focus and improving knowledge about the sheepmeat value chain. This change led to Michael completing a Nuffield Scholarship in 2016 titled, Australian Lamb/Sheepmeat – Commodity or Premium Product? The challenge of moving from a supply chain to a value chain. Michael has been a member of the VFF Livestock Council, and a Board Director of Sheepmeat Council of Australia. He has undertaken the Company Directors Course run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and held Director positions for family businesses. Michael also holds a Bachelor in Commerce and a Diploma in Financial Markets.

Jamie Heinrich
Jamie works with his parents on their 880ha sheep farm Ella Matta on Kangaroo Island in South Australia, which comprises a White Suffolk, Poll Merino and Maternal Composite seed-stock operation. The main focus of the seed-stock operation is increasing genetic gain through the use of LAMBPLAN and MERINOSELECT. The other part of the business is a commercial self-replacing 18.5-micron ewe flock. He completed a Bachelor of Business (International Business) with a sub-major in Marketing at the University of South Australia. Following this he worked for three years at Thomas Foods International in its meat export and livestock departments. In 2014 Jamie was selected as the Sheepmeat Council of Australia Youth Ambassador, and over three years has worked with SCA to forge relationships in international markets and to build leadership capability in the sheep industry. Jamie holds a position on the Board of Livestock SA and is a Board Member at Ag Kangaroo Island. Jamie is currently undertaking a Nuffield Scholarship on the topic Key factors needed to attract and retain young people in the sheep industry. He completed the Sheepmeat Council of Australia ‘Governance in Action’ Course in 2016.

Ian McColl
Ian owns and manages a mixed farming enterprise at Koorawatha, NSW, producing up to 2000 lambs and 100 steers. In 2017 he entered into a joint venture feed lotting lambs. Ian’s experience as a past President of Sheepmeat Council of Australia, Board Director of the Red Meat Advisory Council, Member of the National Farmers’ Federation and a Partner of Safemeat has given him a diverse knowledge of sheep industry systems, markets, market access and food safety. He has also held Board positions with Central West Landcare and Executive Council and Committee positions with NSWFarmers. Ian’s experience and depth of knowledge of animal health, welfare and biosecurity systems has been affirmed through his roles as Chair of the NSWFarmers Biosecurity Committee, Vice Chair of the Johnes Disease Taskforce, SCA Animal Health and Welfare Committee member and a long-term representative to the committee for National Livestock Identification System for Sheep & Goat Committee.  Ian was an active leader through the reform of the National Ovine Johnes Disease changes in 2013, the changes to the live export industry through the implementation of ESCAS, the development of the Sheep Industry Strategic Plan 2020 and part of the industry negotiations for key free trade agreements, particularly with China.

Bindi Murray
Bindi is a commercial sheep producer at Woodanilling, Western Australia, running about 6500 Merino ewes as part of the wool enterprise and 2000 Merino ewes mated to terminal sires. The enterprise provides to local processors as well as the live export market, and works constructively to improve through strong relationships and developing knowledge of the supply chain as a whole. Bindi’s belief that science is at the heart of agriculture led her to complete a Bachelor of Animal Science, where she focused her Honours thesis on the link between high wool production and meat quality. She has also been a research officer for breech-strike trial projects, and now a regular host of producer trials and technical updates. Bindi has also taken on the Chair of LambEx 2018 organising committee, with a view to ensuring that producers are provided with good science and practical solutions. She is a Board Director of the WA Meat Industry Authority Board. Her involvement in advocacy has been an important aspect of Bindi’s career. She has held roles as a policy director, Pastoralists and Graziers Association Committee Member and involvement in national policy issues, such as traceability. In undertaking these roles Bindi has also built business development skills through small business management studies. She has completed the SCA Governance in Action course, the Company Directors Course run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is currently undertaking the Rabobank Executive Leaders program.

Allan Piggott
Allan and wife Sue own and manage a farming business and the Illoura White Suffolk stud at Moorlands, South Australia, run across 2000 hectares and annually selling 600 White Suffolk rams for the prime lamb industry. Allan’s roles in the industry have included many strategic and influential positions including, Chair of the inaugural SA Sheep Industry Blueprint Working Group to set the strategic direction for the SA sheep industry for the next 10 years, Chair of the SA Regional Committee of Southern Australian Meat Research Council (SAMRC), Chair of LambEx 2014 Organising Committee and Chair of the Australian White Suffolk Association. Allan completed the Applied Science course at Roseworthy Agricultural College, and has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors Company Directors Course. He currently holds a Board position with Livestock SA and is an Executive Councillor of the Royal Adelaide Show Society. He has previously been the Chair of numerous Natural Resource Management groups and held Board positions with South Australia Sheep Advisory Group and SA Murray Darling Basin Natural Resource Management Board.