Keynote speakers


Libby Price

‘Country Hour’ Presenter
ABC Radio, VIC
Having presented a number of radio programs including Statewide mornings, Libby Price is no stranger to ABC Local Radio audiences. Libby comes to the presenter’s chair with a wealth of experience and knowledge in broadcasting and current affairs. Starting as a Current Affairs journalist for ABC Radio in 1988, Libby reported for Current Affairs programs such as AM, PM and The World Today.
In 1994, she moved to the ABC’s national network, Radio National to present Countrywide – a program specialising in rural and regional issues, followed by Radio National’s Drive program. In 1995, Libby was recruited as Senior General Reporter for the new National 7.30 Report, presented by Kerry O’Brien.
After three years with the 7.30 Report, Libby joined ABC TV news in 1998 as a Senior Reporter, covering many major Victorian stories including the Riverside nursing home dispute, Longford gas explosion, Linton fires and the state and federal elections. In her spare time, Libby enjoys horse-riding, sailing, children’s literature, reading, movies, food and wine.


Simon Ramsay MLC, Member for Western Victoria, VIC

As a local farmer and small businessperson, Simon is a passionate supporter of regional Victoria. He is proud to use his experience and knowledge to represent the communities of Western Victoria with a fighting spirit and a determination that their voices are heard at all levels of government. He was elected to the Legislative Council as the Member for Western Victoria in November 2010. The issues he deals with every week are as broad as the region he represents – an expanse that includes Nhill, Casterton, the Great Ocean Road, Ballarat, Melton, Kyneton, Daylesford and Maryborough. He also Chairs the Parliament’s Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee.
Simon was born and raised on a family property at Birregurra and attended Birregurra Primary School and Geelong Grammar School.    He graduated from Glenormiston College with a Diploma in Farm Management before completing a certificate in Small Business from the Adult Education Centre in Colac. From jackaroo to company director, Simon’s experience has been robust and expansive.
Simon is a past President of the Victorian Farmers Federation where he advocated for the needs of our regional communities. He is also actively involved in the local community, serving with the Birregurra CFA and as President of the Birregurra Primary School Council.
Simon is a keen Geelong Cats supporter and can often be seen competing in fun runs across Victoria. He is also a strong supporter of men’s health, particularly in rural communities.

INTERNATIONAL SPEAKERS (in alphabetical order)

Dr Roberto Leonardi

MBA Cambridge Judge Business School BEc M.Sc (Hons) Universitia Di Milano President & Health and Wellbeing Futurist Europa Health Forecasting Group, Milan, Italy
Dr Roberto Leonardi, is a health and well being futurist and founding President of the Europa Health Forecasting Group based in Milan, Italy. As an internationally recognised consultant Roberto provides market forecast and strategic advice to a wide range of hospitals, medical groups, managed care organisations and suppliers throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Roberto has written several books on the future of healthcare and well being. His monthly newsletter ‘Europa Health Trends’, has been published for 12 years and is translated into five languages throughout Europe. Roberto is currently on an Australia wide lecture tour where he is speaking to a wide range of hospitals, medical groups and government departments. Like most Italians, Roberto is a truly passionate and entertaining speaker who presents a refreshing and profound perspective on health and well being today and in the future.

Dr Lisa Schiller

Assistant Professor / Nurse Practitioner University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, USA
Conference presentation: ‘Farmer Health … it IS your business’
Dr Schiller is an assistant professor and nurse practitioner. She is faculty at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, teaching both graduate and undergraduate nursing students. Her primary research focus has been agricultural occupational health and safety. She has worked to introduce agricultural health and safety content into both the undergraduate and graduate nursing curriculum which has included on farm visits to deliver services to Hispanic dairy workers. Dr. Schiller was involved in the development of the Rural Health Initiative, an innovative program in eastern Wisconsin that provides farm visits to promote health and safety. She has nearly 30 years of experience in nursing with 15 years of experience as a nurse practitioner in family practice in rural Wisconsin. She is a certified AgriSafe provider and was awarded the AgriSafe provider of the year award in 2010. She is actively involved in training new AgriSafe providers . She integrates agricultural health and safety into her family practice with individuals and families across the lifespan. Dr. Schiller feels a healthy and safe agricultural sector is dependent upon education and intervention at many different access points including family practice, health care provider education, farmer education, community education, and policy advocacy.


Clinical Associate Professor Sue Brumby

Director, National Centre for Farmer Health, VIC
Conference presentation: ‘A decade in Farmer Health 2002 – 2012’
Director, National Centre for Farmer Health, VICSue is the founding director of the National Centre for Farmer Health an innovative partnership between Deakin University and Western District Health Service, Hamilton Australia. She leads the implementation of five key strategies to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of farm men and women which includes inventive and award winning service delivery models, farmer research, Agriclinics, novel education and the farmer health website    In 2010, the National Centre for Farmer Health hosted the Opening the Gates on Farmer Health conference where the Hamilton Charter for Farmer Health was developed and endorsed.
Sue’s background blends both a theoretical and practical understanding of agriculture, health, management and rural communities. She has been recognised with personal awards for her outstanding and visionary service to rural health and has practical experience in farming and rural communities, managing the family property of performance recorded beef cattle and self replacing fine wool flock for twelve years. Sue is the Principal Investigator of the award winning Sustainable Farm FamiliesTM (SFF) project which has been delivered in all states of Australia. She has also been Chief Investigator on Australian Research Council, NHMRC, RIRDC and beyondblue grants. She has previously been awarded a Victorian Travelling Fellowship to the USA and the EU looking at farmer health and decision making.

 Associate Professor John Edwards

Toxicologist & Associate Dean – Teaching and Learning School of the Environment, Flinders University, SA

Conference presentation: ‘Farm Chemicals – Estimating Individual Risk’
John Edwards has been a toxicologist since the early 1980s, with broad interests in the effects of occupational and environmental chemical exposures in human health. This has involved investigations of chemicals including pesticides, solvents, carcinogens, illegal drug laboratories and genetically modified foods. The common theme of his research in all these areas has been how to estimate exposure levels in individuals and how these exposures occur. He is a senior staff member in the School of the Environment at Flinders University in South Australia, with major teaching responsibilities in the area of health and environment. He is also Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning in the School. Outside work John is a keen sailor, both as a qualified yachtmaster and a cruising instructor.

Dr Anthony Hogan

BA (Welfare Studies) M.Sc (Hons) PhD QPMR MASRC
Director, National Institute for Rural and Regional Australia The Australian National University, ACT
Conference presentation: ‘Health, wellbeing and the adaptive capacity of Australian farmers’
Dr Anthony Hogan is a Fellow in the School of Sociology at The Australian National University, the Director of the University’s National Institute for Rural & Regional Australia and Convenor of the Australian Sociological Association’s thematic group on applied sociology. Anthony holds qualifications in sociology, welfare work, epidemiology and rehabilitation counselling and is accredited as a Qualified Practising Market Researcher (QPMR) by the Australian Market and Social Research Society and is an Adjunct Associate Professor with the Centre for Research Action in Public Health at the University of Canberra. Anthony is President of the ACT Deafness Resource Centre, a community based organisation providing services and support to people with acquired hearing loss.
While continuing his work in disability studies over the past 5 years Anthony has also focused his research energies on the many social issues arising in rural Australia in the face of economic and climate change. His first major project in this space was the provision of quantitative inputs into the Kenny Report on Drying which examined social aspects of drought and drying in Australia. He subsequently has completed several projects on the health and social impacts of climate change on Australian farmers.

Cathy McGowan AO

BA (Monash), Dip. Ed (Melbourne)
M.Applied Science in Agriculture & Rural Development
Rural Consultant, Farmer and Academic
Conference presentation: ‘Bloom where you’re planted’
Cathy McGowan AO is a rural consultant, farmer and academic. Over the past 25 years she has established and managed an international consulting and training company. Her expertise lies in gender in business, agriculture and research. She has been the team leader for a number of national capacity building and research programs with the horticulture, sugar and dairy industries and has extensive experience in community consultation, program design and management.
Her experience includes researching effective services for rural communities, such as child care and palliative care and the design and presentation of leadership and change management programs for agricultural industries.
Since 2004 Cathy has been mentoring and facilitating processes with women in Ireland and PNG to establish national organisations for women in agriculture. She has been on a government advisory committee on the World Trade Organisation, chair of the Regional Women’s Advisory Council offering policy advice to the Deputy Prime Minister and his department, and president of the national organisation, Australian Women in Agriculture. She is currently on the (national) Rural Research and Development Council. She is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program and a Churchill Fellow. In 2001 her work with the dairy industry won an international award for excellence in extension.

Matthew Johnstone

Author, Illustrator, and Public Speaker
Drawn From Experience, NSW
Matthew Johnstone had 15+ years as a creative in advertising where he worked in Sydney, San Francisco and New York. He worked for some of the world’s best agencies and won many industry awards.
In 2005 he published I Had a Black Dog, an illustrated book on what it is to suffer depression and what can be learnt from it. This book has been a best seller and is now published in 20+ countries. In 2008, with his wife Ainsley, he published the sequel Living With a Black Dog, a guide to those who care for people living with depression. This also was a best seller and made the top 10 best selling books in the UK in February 2009.
In October 2009 Matthew, along with his co-author; James Kerr, published Alphabet of the Human Heart: The A to Zen of Life. It’s a book about balance. This book went to number 3 in the UK in March 2011. His new book, Quiet the Mind is an illustrated guide on how to meditate and was released in March 2012.
Matthew works as the Creative Director of the Black Dog Institute developing various creative, educational programs on understanding mental health, mood disorders, mindfulness and resilience for schools and the work place. He also delivers talks to community groups, schools, corporations, health resorts, sporting groups and the farming community. He has talked extensively all over Australia and the UK.
Fifteen years working as a creative in advertising gave Matthew skills he didn’t fully appreciate until he began this work at the podium. Those skills are being able to communicate simply and effectively about topics that are intrinsically difficult to articulate. His unique point of difference is that all his slides are illustrations, illustrated by himself. There’s not a pie chart or graph to be seen and actual words are a rarity.
‘I truly believe the old cliché’ that a picture is worth a thousand words. An image is simply more visceral and gets to the core of the message in the blink of an eye. I’ve also come to understand that, even if they’d never admit it, adults still love a good picture story’, says Matthew.

Julie Hill

Director, Data & Analysis, Safe Work Australia
Conference presentation: ‘Agriculture: A Dangerous Industry’
Julie Hill began working for the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission in 1994. Since that time she has worked for it and its successors, the Australian Safety and Compensation Council and Safe Work Australia. Julie is currently working as Director, Data and Analysis at Safe Work Australia. The Data and Analysis section produces statistical reports using a range of data sources including workers’ compensation data, notified fatalities, the National Coroners’ Information System, cancer data and hospital separations data.

Jock Laurie

National Farmers’ Federation, ACT & NSW
Conference presentation: ‘Experience of Depression in Farming Communities’
Walcha farmer and National Farmers’ Federation President Jock Laurie always wanted to be a farmer growing up but never saw himself taking on such a representative role. A fourth generation farmer, Jock was raised on his family’s 3,500 acre property “Deloraine” near Walcha, where he returned following his schooling in Sydney. In 1997, Jock and his wife Lyn went out on their own, leasing country from the family business and buying a small place of their own, “Tungurra”, near Bendemeer, to run a fine wool sheep, cross bred lamb and cattle operation.
Jock’s career in agricultural politics began with a severe case of foot rot. The dedicated farmer became active on the issue in the Walcha area, and was invited onto the NSW Farmers’ Association Foot Rot Steering Committee. Three years later, Jock was elected onto the Association’s Board, and in 2005, took over as Association President.
During his time at NSW Farmers’ Association, Jock also held positions on a number of key agricultural bodies, including as a member of the NSW Agricultural Ministerial Advisory Council, Chair of the NSW Rural Mental Health Network and a Director of the National Farmers’ Federation.
In 2009, having served the maximum term of four years as President, Jock stepped down from the helm, and spent a year at home on the farm at Walcha before returning to agri-politics as President of the National Farmers’ Federation in November 2011. He represents farmer’s interests on the proposed carbon tax, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, research and development, drought policy, infrastructure, food security, free trade, and most recently animal welfare and Australia’s live export industry.

Lynne Strong

Owner, Clover Hill Dairies
National Program Director, Art4Agriculture, NSW
Conference presentation: ‘Art feeds the mind. Farmers feed the future’
Lynne Strong is a proud sixth-generation farmer who was drawn to dairying after a career as a pharmacist. She is co-owner/operator, with husband Michael and son Nicholas, of multi-award-winning Clover Hill Dairies at Jamberoo on the NSW South Coast. Lynne is actively involved in the day-to-day running of their two dairy farms, which produce milk for 50,000 Australians daily.
Clover Hill Dairies is the National Landcare Woolworths Primary Producer of the Year and Lynne is runner up in the Rabobank National Farm Industry Leader of the Year.
Lynne believes the health, wealth and happiness of all Australians is reliant on the rural sector’s ability to build lifelong relationships with the people who buy their food and fibre. To provide a vehicle to develop these two way conversations Lynne initiated the innovative ‘Art4Agriculture’ programs which started with Picasso Cows and is now the Archibull Prize. The Archibull Prize uses art and multimedia to engage thousands of students in learning about the valuable role farmers play in Australia’s future. With the Art4Agriculture team she is working on establishing an Australia wide network of ‘young agricultural champions’ who are trained to tell the great story of Australian agriculture to the next generation of consumers – students. This program connects young people from different food and fibre industries. They get to see their similarities, they find common ground, they realise each has issues that are just as challenging, and they learn how they can help each other.

Professor Scott Kitchener

Medical Director / Chief Executive Officer Queensland Rural Medical Education, QLD
Conference presentation: ‘Teaching Agricultural Medicine to Rural Based Medical Students and General Practice Registrars’
Scott Kitchener completed the The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Family Medicine Training Program in 1992 and continued onto advanced training in Population Health to receive Fellowship in the Faculty of Public Health Medicine (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians). He has practiced in rural Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia as well as in Timor and Bougainville. After completing doctoral studies in primary care of tropical disease he worked on vaccine development in Cambridge then returned to The University of Queensland in 2004 teaching in postgraduate medicine and public health. Scott and his family moved back to Toowoomba in 2006 where he worked for Queensland Health developing the role of Director of Rural Medicine on the Darling Downs in addition to part time medical education with Queensland Rural Medical Education (QRME). He became full time with QRME in 2008. He also practices in Clifton and Pittsworth on the Darling Downs.

Rob & Kathy Henry

13/10/2010 NEWS: Rob and Kathy Henry, Tas.
Owners Woodrising Farms, TAS
Conference presentation: ‘Implementing OHS Models on the Farm’
Diverse farmers Rob and Kathy Henry of Woodrising Farms in Cressy Tasmania will be attending the conference as keynote speakers, and Rob sitting on the hypothetical’s panel. Woodrising Farm is a family owned mixed farming business. Aside from their wool and prime lamb flock and Coopworth stud, their 431ha farm includes opium poppies, peas, grass seeds, clover seeds, pyrethrum, hybrid cabbage seed, peppermint and fennel for the essential oils market, a steam distillation unit, onions, brussel sprouts and organic compost, just to name a few! Several farming accidents within the local community prompted Woodrising Farm to develop and implement a comprehensive Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) management system, creating a safer and more efficient working environment for both workers and visitors to Woodrising Farms. They will be sharing their OHS model at ‘Sowing the Seeds of Farmer Health’ conference in September, 2012.

Greg Warren

General Manager, Foodbank Australia
Conference presentation: ‘An Australia Without Hunger… good food for all’

Greg has had a significant career in the Australian Grocery Industry spanning over 25 years. He has held leadership roles in both operations and buying across a number of businesses including Coles Supermarkets, Bilo Supermarkets and Pick ’N Pay Hypermarkets.
Foodbank is the largest hunger relief organisation in Australia acting as the conduit between the food industry’s donations and the welfare sector’s needs. Greg’s primary role at Foodbank is twofold:
Firstly, to work with our donors across the entire supply chain (primary producers, manufacturers and retailers) to ensure that we are rescuing all usable products that may otherwise go to waste – donated to Foodbank and not dumped.
Secondly, to work with our donors to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for the supply staple food items such as milk, cereal, canned meals, packet meals, etc. Unfortunately, we never have enough of these products and the challenge is to develop supply programs that can meet the demand and be sustained year after year.
We call this our Collaborative Supply Program where we endeavour to have all the stakeholders in the manufacture of a product donate their component (e.g. manufacture, input ingredients, packaging & transport). By doing this we share the load across many stakeholders and their individual contributions are sustainable.

Daryl Pedler


MBBS (Adelaide); FRACGP; MPH (Monash); DHSc (Deakin)
Conference presentation: ‘Human injury on the farm – causes, prevention and implications’
Daryl has been a rurally-based doctor for over 30 years.  Over this time his duties have been in either clinical (general practice and emergency medicine) or academic positions (medical student teaching, research into rural injury and rural health professional education).  An interest in the nature of farm injury and how it may be prevented arose from his clinical experiences. Subsequently, his professional doctorate was on the impact of acute farm injuries on rurally-based health services.  In June 2012, he commences as the inaugural Professor of Rural General Practice at Deakin University, based in Warrnambool, but with responsibility across south-west Victoria.




Evelyne de Leeuw

MSc (Maastricht) MPH (Berkeley) PhD (Maastricht)
Chair in Community Health Systems and Policy School of Medicine, Deakin University, VIC

Evelyne is professor and chair of Community Health Systems and Policy at Deakin University, Victoria, Australia. She also acts as senior evaluation advisor to the Healthy Cities programme in WHO/Europe, and implementation expert consultant for Healthy Cities in WHO/Western Pacific. She teaches community health promotion in the Deakin Medical School for which she has developed novel reflective cloud-based learning technologies.
Her research stems from a fascination with political behaviour, and why ‘in-your- face-evidence’ (e.g., on Farmer Health) does not enter the decision-making discourse. For VicHealth she undertook a systematic review of theoretical approaches    at    the    nexus    between    research,    policy    and    practice.
Previously she was based in Denmark, France and The Netherlands. Recent books cover Healthy Cities (Springer, with Jean Simos) and health political science (OUP, with Carole Clavier), and chapters in an upcoming global non-communicable disease manual (Springer).




Esther Price

Communications and Rural Events Consultant
Principal Consultant/Company Director
Esther Price Promotions Pty Ltd

Esther is a marketing professional with 20 years experience in the marketing, events and promotions industry and a unique network of contacts and associates across the rural industries, events and marketing sectors. She was born and raised on a farming property near Kulin in the WA wheatbelt and maintains a very close affinity to rural issues. Her company, Esther Price Promotions Pty Ltd (EPP), is a communications, marketing, projects and events business established in 1989 that has a reputation for providing a professional, flexible and diverse marketing package to its clients, best summed up by the business slogan “Putting it all Together”. EPP is the registered office of the Australian Association of Agricultural Consultants (WA) Inc, representing farm consultants throughout Western Australia.


Jamie Fisher

Lawyer and Farmer
Jamie Fisher & Associates
Jamie Fisher was raised on a solider settler’s farm 30 kms from Geelong at Lethbridge. He attended secondary school in Geelong. After leaving school he attended the Gordon Institute of Technology, qualified as a wool classer and later found casual work as a wool classer whilst being engaged in developmental work of scrub land at Tarwin Lower, Gippsland.After a few of years farming in Gippsland, the family sold that farm and bought a grazing property at Chetwynd 35 kms north of Casterton. After a further brief time farming there he was called up and served two years National Service as an Officer in the Australian Army, within Australia.Over the years Jamie has engaged in a number of community and industry activities including serving on school councils, progress associations, hospital committees, and field days committees, as well as professional extension work auspiced by the Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria conducting seminars around Victoria for rural succession planning, together with conducting training for real estate auctioneers and rural industry training. He is a former Deputy Group Officer with The Country Fire Authority of Victoria.


‘Sowing the Seeds of Farmer Health’ is proudly brought to you by

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The National Centre for Farmer Health gratefully acknowledge the wonderful support and grants offered by the following organisations


Department of Health







Illuka Resources Limited
National Centre for Dairy Education Australia
Safework Australia



Cotton Research & Development



Southern Grampians Shire Council
Southern Grampians and Glenelg Primary Care Partnerships
Bendigo Radiology



Thanks also to our supporting partners

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Sharp Airlines
Meat and Livestock Australia
Stock and Land