Thank you for your participation as we hosted the first Nuffield Australia National Conference in the Northern Territory.

The National Conference is the highlight of the Nuffield calendar. It’s a flagship event, offering a meeting point for Scholars, Investors and the broader agriculture industry.

In 2017, it was NT’s turn, providing a real ‘destination’ conference!

The program provided in-depth insights into agriculture and production in Northern Australia, as only Nuffield can provide.

  • Presentations from 2016 Nuffield Scholars, providing the latest global agricultural research
  • A focus on new, emerging and cutting-edge innovation and technologies
  • Announcement of the 2018 Nuffield Scholars
  • Knowledge and information exchange at networking functions.


We thank our partners of the 2017 National Conference.

The event has continued to grow over the last five years, with registrations reaching 360 attendees in 2016 and a similar number participating in 2017.

Program and Speakers

There was a strong program of diverse and vibrant speakers providing the most current and up-to-date insights in agriculture, and particularly Northern Australia, including:

1) GINA RINEHART, Hancock Prospecting
Gina Rinehart is the Executive Chairman of the Hancock Prospecting Group and S. Kidman and Co. She is also one of the foremost figures in primary industries in Australia, particularly, agriculture and mining. This video presentation focused on the new horizons for the business including the recent deal with China to send live shipment of cattle out of the Port of Darwin.

2) MARC OOSDIJK, Rabobank Australia and New Zealand Group
Marc Oostdijk started with Rabobank in 2008 as Head of Marketing and Market Development for Rabobank International in Utrecht, the Netherlands. In 2011, Marc took on the challenge of his current role to advance and promote sustainability and cooperative values within Rabobank Australia and New Zealand, and to manage the bank’s social partnerships portfolio.

3) LUKE BOWEN, Northern Australia Development and Trade
Luke Bowen, is the General Manager of Northern Australia Development and Trade within the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation. Luke leads the Northern Australia Development Offi ce (NADO) to include the Office of Asian Engagement, Trade and Investment, StudyNT, DefenceNT and Indigenous and Regional Economic Development. Luke is a member of the Federal Agriculture Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers Agriculture Industry Advisory Council.

4) KYLIE GRACEY, Northern Territory Cattlemens Assoc
Kylie is the Business Development Officer for the NTCA and focused on pastoral leases at the conference. This is currently very topical in the NT. As a result of changes to the Pastoral Land Act, lessees can now apply for diversification permits.

Katherine Winchester is the CEO of the Northern Territory Seafood Council, the peak representative body for the NT seafood industry. She highlighted what is on the horizon for the seafood industry in Northern Australia.

7) BRIAN MCALPINE, 2002 Nuffield Scholar, WA
Brian featured in a new session titled, ‘Where are they now’? Brian is an experienced grain farmer, board member of CBH Group, past President of Liebe Group and past Councillor of the Dalwallinu Shire. He told his story since being awarded a scholarship.

8) ASHLEY SEVERIN, 1986 Nuffield Scholar, NT
Ashley Severin is the only child of Peter and Dawn Severin, who purchased Curtin Spring Station in 1956, located 100km east of Ayers Rock. Ashley is a 1986 Nuffield Scholar who runs the station with his wife Lyndee.

The program for the two-day conference can be downloaded here.

Among the 2016 Nuffield Scholar presentations are:

  • Adam Coffey, QLD: Commercial cattle production and management tactics for rangeland and other Northern areas
  • Angus Duddy, NSW: Can agriculture and mining can co-exist? If so, are there opportunities to tap into alternative energy sources and recycled water?
  • Daniel Richards, NT: International seafood and aquaculture production, technologies and market trends
  • Jan Vydra, VIC: Innovative ways to boost the yields and sustainability of fresh herb and salad leaf production
  • Randall Wilksch, SA: Why are there so few women in broad scale agriculture?
  • Ben Edser, QLD: How intensive livestock production operations can manage waste and whether their bio-products can be optimised

The event opened with the distinguished Awards Dinner on the first evening, announcing the 2018 Nuffield Scholars, the newest group of emerging leaders in Australian agriculture and agribusiness.

Tuesday 19 September – Annual Awards Dinner, at Darwin Convention Centre, from 6pm
Wednesday 20 September – Conference Day 1, at Darwin Convention Centre, from 8.30am
Wednesday 20 September – Cocktail reception at Darwin Convention Centre, from 4.30pm
Wedensday 20 September - Welcome reception at Parliament House Darwin, from 6.00pm, hosted by the Honourable Michael Gunner MLA, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory. All delegates and partners will receive formal invitations
Thursday 21 September – Conference Day 2, at Darwin Convention Centre, from 8.30am
Thursday 21 September – Social evening at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, from 6pm
Friday 22 – Saturday 23 September – Post Conference Tour, Darwin region

Thursday – Mindil Beach Sunset Markets

Following the formal close of the conference on Thursday, 21 September, delegates participated in a social evening at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Held every Thursday and Sunday night from April to October, these are Darwin's largest and most popular weekly markets with multitude of stalls offering international cuisine, arts, crafts and entertainment.

Regional Tour

The post-conference regional tour stimulated agricultural enthusiasts keen to understand primary production in Northern Australia. There was a focus on beef production, barramundi farming, the tropical fruits industry and even crocodiles! Visits included:

Tropical Primary Products

2015 Nuffield Scholar Han Shiong Siah is Farm Manager and Agronomist for Tropical Primary Products, a family-owned and operated business specialising in tropical fruit production. Han showcased crops on the 220-ha property including mangoes, durians (largest durian plantation in Australia), jackfruits and pomelos, while other lesser-known tropical fruit also feature. They also have an active mango-breeding project, with their first commercial variety (TPP1) being widely available in green grocers and major Australian supermarket chains.

Humpty Doo Barramundi

As business owner of Humpty Doo Barramundi aquaculture, 2016 Nuffield Scholar Dan Richards highlighted the opportunities in developing premium quality, sustainably produced white fish to complement pink fish markets in Australia and overseas. Dan and his family have been pioneering the farming of barramundi from fingerling to five kilograms. This business is now distributing about 40,000 kg of fresh barramundi per week into domestic and export markets.

Coastal Plains Research Farm

The NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR) hosted a visit to Coastal Plains Research Farm (CPRF). There was a focus on on-farm biosecurity and changes to water licensing requirements in the Darwin rural area. There are a number of active trials in the area of horticulture, including jackfruit seedling selection planting, a trial studying nitrogen nutrition in mango trees, research on Panama disease in bananas and also a trial focusing on the performance of different tropical grasses.

Jumping Crocodile Cruise

More than 80,000 Saltwater Crocodiles roam the waterways of Northern Australia, and on the Adelaide River, a “Jumping Crocodile Cruise” is a must for any visitor to the Northern Territory! On this tour, delegates saw territorial crocodiles at close range for great photo opportunities and also an array of birdlife. The tour guides were extremely knowledgeable as well as having a great sense of humour! .

Beatrice Hill Buffalo

The NT Government's Beatrice Hill runs one of the nation's largest herds of Riverine buffalo. This herd originated from eight animals bought in from the USA in 1995. There’s more than 150 purebred Riverine buffalo today, sold to dairies across Australia. Buffalo were introduced to the NT in 1826. Today there are about 10,000 head on farms in the Top End and a further 50,000-60,000 head have remained in Arnhem Land. Buffalo are exported live from Darwin to countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, but are also processed locally in Australia abattoirs, including at Australian Agricultural Company's facility at Livingstone.



Registrations have now closed.

Terms and Conditions

Cancellation refund policy: Before 15th August – 75% refund. Between 15th-30th August – 50% refund. After 1st September - no refund.

All events and functions must be pre-paid in advance.

Registrations must be pre-paid with a credit card, in Australian Dollars.

Bookings will be made on a first-come, first-serve basis. There are limitations on bookings, particularly for the regional tour.

Nuffield Australia will not be responsible for any medical expenses, loss or accidents incurred during the event.

Plan Your Visit

What to Pack – Dress Code

Awards Dinner: Territory Rig
  • Gentlemen: Trousers, long sleeved-shirt and tie
  • Ladies: Day dress/after five
Conference Days, Cocktail Function: Territory Informal
  • Gentlemen: Smart casual trousers, open neck shirt
  • Ladies: Smart casual
Regional Tour: Casual
  • Casual wear, with good walking shoes for the farm visits.

Childcare options

Three options for consideration are:

  • Bubba Bing Care. Click here
  • Milestones Early Learning. Click here
  • La Crèche on The Avenue. Click here

    Weather – Dry Season (May-October)

    The dry season, from May until October, is characterised by warm, dry sunny days and cool nights. Temperatures typically range from 21.6– 31.8°C and humidity levels are much lower: around 60 – 65%. More information here.

    Exploring the NT

    For those wanting to explore the NT further, visit the Tourism Top End Visitor Information Centre here. They manage car rentals and can get the best vehicle to suit your needs, with UNLIMITED KILOMETRES in many instances, which may not be the case if booking through rental companies.


    If you have any questions, please contact Nuffield Program Operations Manager Nicola Raymond by emailing here