Prof. Jim Pratley
Invited Speaker

Jim is the Research Professor of Agriculture at Charles Sturt University and Secretary of the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture. He graduated with BSc and PhD degrees from the University of NSW, and took up an academic position at Wagga Wagga where he has been since 1972. He was Foundation Dean of Science and Agriculture at the Charles Sturt University from 1990 until 2006.
Jim has taught courses in agronomy and related areas and has published widely in conservation farming, weed management, herbicide resistance, allopathy and agricultural education. He is a former President of the Australian Society of Agronomy and former Vice President of the International Allopathy Society. He has served on the Boards of the Cooperative Research Centres of Viticulture, Sustainable Rice Production, Weed Management Systems and Plant Based Management of Dryland Salinity.
He is a member of the Research Advisory Committee of the Australian Farm Institute, the NSW Primary Industries Ministerial Advisory Council and the National Council for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Australian Academy of Science. He recently completed a Ministerial Review into Agricultural Education and Training in NSW.

Prof. Jerry Cherney
Invited Speaker

Jerry H. Cherney was born and raised on a dairy farm in central Wisconsin, receiving a B.S. degree in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin. After a three year tour as a North Vietnamese linguist for the U.S. Army Security Agency, he received an M.S. degree in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in Agronomy from the University of Minnesota.
He accepted a faculty position at Purdue University in forage crop research and teaching in 1982, and then became the New York State forage crop specialist in 1990, focusing on perennial grass management and quality.
He was appointed E.V. Baker Professor of Agriculture in 1997, and has recently focused research effort on the feasibility of grass combustion as an alternative energy source. Dr. Cherney received the Crop Science Extension Education Award in 2008 from the Crop Science Society of America, and the Agronomic Extension Education Award in 2012 from the American Society of Agronomy. He is a Fellow of both societies.

Martin Kropff
Invited Speaker

Martin Kropff serves as the Director General of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT, by its Spanish acronym) since June 2015. As DG of CIMMYT, a flagship CGIAR Center, Kropff leads center efforts to strengthen worldwide research on agriculture, food and the environment; areas that are central to addressing global challenges to food and nutrition security.
Before joining CIMMYT, Martin was Rector Magnificus and Vice Chairman of the Executive Board of Wageningen University and Research Center (Wageningen UR) in the Netherlands. He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in biology at Utrecht University and a Ph.D. in agricultural and environmental sciences at Wageningen University, both cum laude. In 1984, he was appointed assistant professor at Wageningen University. From 1990 to 1995, Kropff was the systems agronomist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, where he led an interdisciplinary program on the introduction of systems analysis and simulation in rice production research. Upon his return to the Netherlands in 1995, he served successively as Full Professor of Crop and Weed Ecology, Scientific Director of the University’s C.T. de Wit Graduate School for Production Ecology and Resource Conservation and Director General of the Plant Sciences Group. In 2005 he joined the Executive Board of Wageningen UR. Kropff played a key role in raising Wageningen UR’s profile worldwide. In 2013, he joined the CGIAR Consortium Board, where he worked to improve cohesion and develop a new CGIAR strategy.

Colin Piggin
Invited Speaker

Colin was raised on and is still involved in a crop and livestock farm at Corowa in southern NSW, settled by his family in the late 1860s. He graduated with a BAgrSci degree in 1967 and PhD degree in 1976 from the University of Melbourne.
In Australia, Colin worked as a weed scientist, agronomist and research/development leader in the Victorian Departments of Lands and Agriculture, undertaking research and extension on ecology and management of crop and pasture weeds at the Keith Turnbull and Rutherglen Research Institutes, and managing salinity, dairying and horticultural research and extension at the Shepparton Agricultural Centre. He has also worked with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) as a crop research program coordinator facilitating initiation and implementation of collaborative research and development projects in Asia and the Pacific.
Internationally, Colin has been an agronomist and leader on Australian aid projects in the Philippines, China and Indonesia undertaking community and infrastructure development and research and extension on livestock, crops and pastures. Within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, he has worked at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines leading the rain fed and upland rice research programs and undertaking agronomy and weed research, and at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas in Syria, where he led the agronomy/livestock group, and was project leader of the ACIAR/AusAID – funded project (2005-14) on “Development of Conservation Cropping Systems in the drylands of Iraq”, where he undertook participatory research, extension and training on zero till cropping systems.

Dr Steve Phillips
Invited Speaker

Dr. Steve Phillips is a North American Program Director for the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI). IPNI is a not-for-profit, science-based organization dedicated to the responsible management of plant nutrients for the benefit of the human family with a focus on improving global food security. Dr. Phillips’ duties include development and dissemination of educational materials regarding the efficient and effective use of plant nutrients, with a focus on precision agriculture.
Prior to joining IPNI in 2007, Dr. Phillips was an Associate Professor at Virginia Tech where his program focused on variable-rate N management and the development of N recommendation algorithms for sensor-based fertilization of wheat and corn in the mid-Atlantic region. Dr. Phillips has authored/co-authored numerous peer reviewed journal articles, extension and technical publications, and has participated in precision agriculture workshops and training events in several different countries.
He currently serves as chair of the IPNI international workgroup on precision agriculture, the annual InfoAg Conference, and the A to Z track for practitioners at the International Conference on Precision Agriculture. Dr. Phillips holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Oklahoma State University.


Dr Phillips attendance is supported by International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI).

Dr Tina Acuna
Invited Speaker

Dr Tina Acuna graduated with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Agricultural Science from the University of Tasmania. She subsequently undertook postdoctoral fellowships with CSIRO Plant Industry in Perth, Western Australia, and at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. A research fellowship followed at the University of Western Australia. Her research in this period focused on the response of cereals to drought.
The offer of a lectureship in Crop Science drew Tina and her young family home to Tasmania in 2007. Since then her research has focused on yield improvement of grain crops in high rainfall farming systems. Along the way, Tina has developed a complementary interest in the scholarship of learning and teaching and has led the development of national Learning and Teaching Academic Standards for agriculture. Funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching, this project has been undertaken in collaboration with three interstate universities and involved consultation with academics, students and industry across Australia. The standards are endorsed by the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture and were officially launched in March, 2015. The standards aim to help universities design and deliver programs that meet agreed standards, attract more students and produce skilled graduates.