Our Nuffield Australia National Conference is the highlight of the Nuffield calendar. Our flagship event offers a meeting point for Scholars, Investors and the broader agriculture industry.

In 2019, we hosted our conference in Queensland, at The Royal International Convention Centre – EKKA Precinct - in Brisbane.

The theme was 'Collaborate. Innovate. Cultivate', showcasing Scholars’ ability to learn from farmers around the globe, identify cutting edge farming practices and technology, and sow the seeds of change that see individuals, businesses and wider industry flourish.

The program provided in-depth insights into Australian and global agriculture along with a detailed look at agriculture in Queensland. In addition to more than 25 Nuffield Scholars presenting the findings of their scholarship research, there were a broad array of other speakers focusing on the conference theme.


Over 25 Scholars presented the findings of their scholarship studies, and topics included:

  • Effective branding to attract a premium
  • Facilitating the uptake of new agricultural technology
  • Strengthening business and strategic planning capability
  • Business risk management in a variable climate
  • Soil health and regeneration principles in agriculture
  • Key factors affecting farmer uptake of information
  • Enabling better environmental outcomes in agriculture
  • Management practices used to combat urban growth in productive agricultural regions


Our annual conference offers a unique opportunity for organisations to highlight and promote products and services to a highly targeted and engaged national agricultural industry audience.

In 2019, we showcased some of the best farmers, as well as Queensland's diverse and dynamic agricultural sector.

We thank our 2019 National Conference partners:

Program and Speakers

The 2019 National Conference program ran from Tuesday 17 September to Thursday 19 September and was followed by a Thursday evening social function and a two-day regional tour on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 September.

The program included a new 'Welcome Breakfast' introduced on the Wednesday morning, which was an excellent opportunity to network prior to the official opening.

Tuesday 17 September – Annual Awards Dinner, from 6pm (RICC, EKKA Precinct)
Wednesday 18 September – Welcome Breakfast, from 7am (RICC, EKKA Precinct)
Wednesday 18 September – Conference Day One and Networking Reception, from 8.30am-7.00pm (RICC, EKKA Precinct)
Thursday 19 September – Conference Day Two, from 8.30am (RICC, EKKA Precinct)
Thursday 19 September – Social Evening, from 6.30pm (River Bar)
Friday 20 and Saturday 21 September - Regional Tour, Darling Downs


Annual Awards Dinner

Our 2019 event opened with the distinguished Annual Awards Dinner on the first evening. Here the new 2020 Nuffield Scholars were announced. Visit the webpage here to meet the new scholars! Mr David Crombie AM was special guest speaker. He has been President of the Australian Rugby Union, and a director of AACo and Graincorp. He was President of the NFF from 2006-10 and received a Member of the Order of Australia honour for services to agriculture, communities, and sport in 2014. He operates family properties, breeding cattle and farming in southern Queensland.

Conference Speakers

The conference featured a strong program of speakers, providing the most current insights on agricultural commodities, practices, innovation and technology. It also continued a session titled, ‘Where are they now?’, focusing on extraordinary members of the Alumni who shared their experiences since completing their scholarship, including:

1. Jack Milbank, 2007 Scholar

Jack was brought up on mixed farming property in Zimbabwe and studied at The University of Queensland. In 2009, Jack became the Managing Director of Hortus Technical Services. In 2013, he became Founder of Biofilm Crop Protection Pty Ltd, and in 2014 founded the Bargara Brewing Company.

2. Michael McKellar, 2004 Scholar

Michael studied water medication for livestock production in 2004. Michael is married to Helen and they have two children. They run a 7,000-hectare organic beef production business at Morven, focusing on the Belmont Red breed.

Other speakers included:

3. John Woods, GRDC

John Woods was appointed Chairman of the GRDC in 2016. He is a partner and manager of a broadacre agri-business based in Northern NSW and Southern Qld. He has held positions with the National Agricultural Monitoring System Science Advisory Group, the National Rural Advisory Council, Cotton Australia and Farmsafe Queensland.

4. Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, CSIRO

Michiel van Lookeren Campagne joined CSIRO in June 2019 as Director, Agriculture and Food. Previously he was Head of Seeds Research at Syngenta in North Carolina. He has been based at Plant Research International in Wageningen, and joined Aventis CropScience (now Bayer CropScience) in 1999. In 2009, he joined Syngenta.

5. Dr Heather Smyth, UQ

Dr Heather Smyth is a flavour chemist and sensory scientist who has been working with premium food and beverage products for more than fifteen years. With a background in wine flavour chemistry, her expertise is in understanding consumer enjoyment of foods and beverages in terms of both sensory properties and composition.

6. Liz Alexander, CHDC

Liz Alexander iis Agribusiness Development Coordinator for the Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC). From 2016, Liz has overseen the development and implementation of the Central Highlands Accelerate Agribusiness (CHAA) initiative. She also serves as director and Deputy Chair of Plant Health Australia, and the CRDC.

7. Dr Toby Ford, Ford Heath

Dr Toby Ford is founder of Ford Health Rural, a division of Ford Health, providing health, wellbeing and resilience services to companies and organisations around Australia. It specifically provides activities to corporate agribusinesses and farming families. In 2017, his team launched a charitable venture, The Farmers Health Promotion Collaborative.

8. Tim McGavin, Laguna Bay

Tim is a founding partner and CEO of Laguna Bay. Drawing upon experience and networks in agribusiness, Tim is an experienced originator and investor, specialising in agriculture and renewable energy. Tim was raised on a sheep and cattle farm in Queensland, studied agribusiness at Marcus Oldham College and completed an MBA at Macquarie University.

9. Ross Henry, QFF

Ross has been Project Manager at the Queensland Farmers Federation since 2015 and leads risk management projects and policies including natural disaster planning and recovery, insurance and climate change. His work on insurance has increased awareness across government, industry groups and farmers. He has a background in agronomy and soil science.

10. Michael Guerin, AgForce

Michael has experience working with major corporations, running large farming operations, advancing agricultural research and increasing international trade. Growing up on a family farm in New Zealand, he has held numerous senior executive roles and has been CEO of AgForce Queensland since October 2017.

11. Nic Kentish, RCS

Based on a farm in the Adelaide Hills, Nic runs a farm management consultancy, farm construction and agricultural coaching within his community. Combining passions for livestock, soil and people, Nic trains Low Stress Stockhandling schools and GrazingforProfit schools with zest and humour.

More than 25 Nuffield Scholars presented the findings of their scholarship from the 2018 year group. Among these were:

  • Stewart Borg, QLD: Strategies that can be adapted to help establish feedlots in Queensland’s tropics
  • Shannon Notter, VIC: Key factors affecting farmer uptake of information
  • Andrew Slade, WA: Facilitating uptake of AgTech through integration of data to common platforms
  • Olabisi Oladele, VIC: Decision making for automation in packhouse and human capital requirements
  • Dylan Hirsch, WA: Financial risk management systems in variable climates
  • James Stacey, SA: Management practices used to combat urban growth in productive agricultural regions
  • Sarah Sivyer, NSW: Optimising trust in a brand by leveraging a culture of continuous improvement
  • Alison Larard, QLD: Strengthening business and strategic planning capabilities of family-owned northern beef enterprises

Thursday – Social Evening

Following the formal close of the conference on Thursday 19 September, delegates attended a social evening at River Bar. This function provided a relaxed space and a chance to unwind after conference week formalities.

Regional Tour

The post-conference regional tour to the Darling Downs stimulated agricultural enthusiasts keen to understand primary production in South-East Queensland. This large farming region includes pastures, vegetables, legumes, cotton, wheat, barley and sorghum. Farms also include beef, dairy, pigs, sheep and lambs. This tour was passionately organised by Nuffield Scholars farming in this area.

The tour commenceed on Friday 20 September from Brisbane.

Over two days, the tour travelled west from Brisbane through Toowoomba to Dalby, an area known for its rich black soil allowing the production of wheat, cotton and sorghum.

Visits included:

1) Derek Schulz (2001 Scholar)

2001 Scholar Derek Schulz and his wife Narelle run 'Derrel Farms' at Grantham, which is a vegetable cropping business. On his Nuffield Scholarship, Derek studied environmentally sustainable production methods with low chemical input.

2) Matt McVeigh (2015 Scholar)

Matt and his family run 'McVeigh Partnership' which includes 6,000 ha of irrigated and dryland cropping and is a mixture of owned, leased and share-farmed country. Cotton, sorghum, wheat, barley, chickpeas are part of the cropping rotation. Farm management, transport and agricultural parts are also part of the business.

3) Wellcamp Airport and Export Centre

Wagner Group undertook construction of the jet-capable, Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and Business Park in 2013. It was completed in 19 months. It is designed to cater for large jets and facilitating the largest of airfreight in and out of the region. Tour participants will meet John Wagner, Chair of Wagner Corporation.

4) Boomaroo Nursery

Boomaroo Nurseries is a world-class vegetable seedling producer and one of Australia’s largest commercial seedling suppliers with 20 hectares under production. It supplies 300 million transplantable seedlings to growers. Their Southbrook expansion project is the most advanced and efficient vegetable seedling nursery in the Southern Hemisphere.

5) Mort & Co Feedlot

Mort & Co is an Australian cattle feedlot, management and marketing business priding itself on producing a consistent supply of quality beef for domestic and export markets. They strive to develop long relationships with key producers to ensure they can reap the benefits of being part of a larger supply chain.

6) Louis Dreyfus: Dalby Gin

Louis Dreyfus Company is a leading merchant and processor of agricultural goods, leveraging its global reach and extensive asset network to deliver for customers. They help to feed and clothe 500 million people, originating, processing and transporting approximately 80 million tons of products annually.

7) Jimbour Homestead

Jimbour is both a tiny village and the location of one of the nation’s most gracious historical homes – Jimbour – built in 1876. It is a place where history, grandeur and graciousness are blended harmoniously.

You can download the program for each day. Click here.


Registrations are closed.

Contact Nuffield Program Operations Manager Nicola Raymond to enquire about our 2021 National Conference, to be held in New South Wales here

Plan Your Visit


There are a number of accommodation options near to the Royal International Convention Centre (RICC) EKKA Precinct. Some suggestions are set out below.

  • Rydges Fortitude Valley, directly opposite the RICC. Click here.
  • Belise Apartments. Click here.
  • Direct Hotels - Pavilion and Governor on Brookes. Click here.
  • Limes Hotel. Click here.


    Awards Dinner: Lounge Suit
    • Gentlemen: Suit and tie
    • Ladies: Formal wear, dress or evening pant suit
    Conference Days: Business Formal
    • Gentlemen: Trousers, shirt and tie
    • Ladies: Smart casual, skirt or trousers
    Regional Tour: Casual
    • Casual wear, with good walking shoes for farm visits

Childcare options in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

Three options for consideration are:

  • CeeBee Care (also do Corporate and Event Child Care), 29 Thornbury Street, Spring Hill Ph: 07 3839 5047. Click here
  • Goodstart Early Learning Centres, 95 Brookes Street, Fortitude Valley Ph: 07 3252 9911. Click here
  • Little Ducks Childcare, 55 McLachlan Street, Fortitude Valley Ph: 07 3252 1841. Click here

    Brisbane Weather (September)

    The month of September marks the arrival of the lovely spring season in Brisbane. The average temperature in this month is around 19 degrees Celsius and in the range averaging between 23 and 14 degrees Celsius. Brisbane experiences about nine hours of sunshine with an increasing trend in the length of the day. September can experience an average of 30mm rainfall. More information here.

    Exploring Brisbane

    For those wishing to explore, click through to the 'Visit Brisbane' website here.


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