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Ag News

AFI board changes - Spencer new chairman, Gartmann a new addition

  • By: "Prime" Ag News
  • Jul 05, 2018

The changing of the guard continues at the Australian Farm Institute as retiring Board Chair David Anthony welcomes Andrew Spencer to the role. Andrew is CEO of Australian Pork Limited and has been on the AFI Board for six years. He brings with him 30 years of agribusiness experience, both in Australia and internationally.

David joined the AFI Board in 2008 and was appointed Chair in 2012. David’s professional background spans more than 42 years of advocacy for Australian agriculture, and his contribution to AFI has been invaluable. David is the former CEO and current Chair of Auscott Limited and was Chair of the Cotton Catchment Communities CRC.

After a decade of service to Australian agriculture’s think tank, David has overseen policy research covering many aspects of the industry, including reports on Making Decisions About Environmental Water Allocations (2010), Impacts of the Ban on Live Cattle Exports to Indonesia (2012), Is Counting Farmers Harder than Counting Sheep? (2013), Designing Balanced and Effective Farm Animal Welfare Policies for Australia (2015) and Enhancing Private-Sector Investment in Agricultural R,D&E in Australia (2017).

David has always been a strong believer in the need for an independent, challenging policy institution for Australian agriculture and has steadfastly backed the vision of the AFI for government policies that maximise opportunities for Australian farmers and the agricultural sector to operate profitably and sustainably.

AFI Executive Director Richard Heath said: “Dave has always been the steady hand that kept the Institute moving forward and progressing along with the changing face of Australian ag. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with him and the Institute will be forever grateful for his influence and stewardship.”

Stepping into the Board vacancy created by David’s departure is Alexandra Gartmann, CEO of Rural Bank. Alex has previously been CEO of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, which focused on the partnership between philanthropy, community, government and business supporting the economic growth of communities across Australia, and also CEO of the Birchip Cropping Group.

“Alex brings with her new skills, a refreshing outlook and a bit less grey hair! We’re delighted to have her,” said Andrew.

While the recent departures of David and founding Executive Director Mick Keogh signal the end of an era for AFI, Richard and the team look forward to continuing the Institute’s core work of producing intellectually robust research and to exploring new methods of extension and communication.

“This is an exciting time for the Institute, and we can embrace these changes from an enviable position of strength thanks to the excellent work, good governance and wise counsel of Dave, Mick and the rest of the AFI Board,” said Richard. “We welcome Andrew to the role and Alex to the team, and thank Dave for his service.”

Picture - Alex Gartmann

Andrew was elected as Chair and Alex elected as a Director at an AFI Board meeting on 22 June 2018.