Bret Ryan Interim CEO
Bret joined SFS as the Business Services Manager in 2019 following a career in Marine Biology and Government NRM (Landcare and Sustainable Agriculture). Born and raised in Colac he has also lived most of his life in south west Victoria. He holds a Diploma in Conservation and Land Management (Victorian Student of the Year), bachelor’s degree in science and a Master’s in Business Administration.
Karen Haigh Finance and Administration Officer
Having grown up on a mixed farm in central Victoria, Karen commenced a career in education teaching accounting and business studies at TAFE and secondary levels. Karen has worked as Accountant for metropolitan hospitals in Melbourne, implementing financial systems. In 2007 Karen commenced employment with Southern Farming Systems as a Branch coordinator and was quickly utilised as in the financial management of the organisation.
Michelle McClure Communications and Engagement Coordinator
Michelle started with Southern Farming Systems as Hamilton Branch Coordinator in 2009. Over the years Michelle's role in SFS has evolved to the current position of Communications and Engagement Coordinator for the organisation. Michelle enjoys working with members and partners to keep the industry, relevant and on the edge.
Lisa Miller Manager - Soils, Pasture and Livestock
Lisa joined SFS in 2013 keen to seek new challenges after working for20 years in pasture agronomy with the Department of Primary Industries. Lisa completed her Bachelor of Agricultural Science with honours at Melbourne University in 1992and began her career working at Seymour where she grew up before relocating to work at Colac and Geelong. Lisa is the Victorian Co-ordinator of MLA funded producer research groups and looks after soil acidity projects within SFS.
Natalie Jenkins Project Officer - Gippsland
Natalie Jenkins is project officer with Southern Farming Systems (SFS), based in Gippsland, Victoria. Working in the natural resources and agricultural industries for the past 20 years, with a particular passion for community led on ground action, she now leads SFS’s Top Soils and Dung Beetle Projects.
Jen Clarke Branch Coordinator - Rokewood
Jen is an agriculture and natural resource management consultant who has worked with the Woady Group as a facilitator for 20 years, and is excited to be joining the SFS team to support the new Rokewood Branch. Jen is passionate about pasture management and adult learning.
Ronald Buitendijk Senior Trials Operator
Ronald lived and worked across Europe and moved to Australia following numerous family visits. Living in WA, where he lived on a farm and worked on an olive grove. In 2017 he moved back to Geelong and started working for SFS. Ronald is the SFS Senior Trials Operator responsible for the seeding, spraying, and harvesting of the crops, and for servicing and maintaining the machinery and trial sites for the western district.
Brett Davey Senior Technical Officer - Tasmania
Brett has spent the past 16 years working for the University of Tasmania as a technical officer dedicated to the Tasmanian grain industry. This includes a period of 6 years where Brett assisted with conducting SFS field trials in Tasmania.
Brett recently joined the Tasmanian SFS team and thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to work across the diverse range of SFS projects and trials being conducted and especially enjoys working closely with the farming community.
Ashley Amourgis Senior Research and Extension Officer
Ashley grew up on a dairy farm in Northern Tasmania and studied a Bachelor of Science at University of Melbourne. Since starting with SFS in 2017, she has become a key member of the team as a Senior Research and Extension officer and is responsible for a number of projects and trials including SFS variety management work, GRDC precision planter project and the south west Victorian part of the MLA dung beetle project.
Grace Evans Research and Extension Officer
Grace grew up on a prime lamb property near Camperdown Victoria and studied Bachelor of Business (Agriculture) at Marcus Oldham College. Since starting with SFS in 2019, she has been involved in undertaking many trial assessments and extension events such as Sheepvention and Women on Farms.
Tahlia Ferguson Research and Extension Officer
Tahlia grew up on a small property south of Ballarat and studied a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. Tahlia will work on monitoring and extension of lime trial results, biomass calibration of Pastures from Space and on realising benefits from sheep Electronic Identification (eID). Tahlia has a background in cattle and sheep showing. She has a passion for sharing research results and new agricultural practices with farmers.
Audrey Gripper Research and Extension Officer
Audrey has just finished studying a Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England where she was involved in hockey, volleyball and running teams. She recently moved to Victoria from her hometown of Kangaroo Valley, NSW and is excited to be working for SFS.
Greta Duff Research and Extension Officer
Greta graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Agriculture. Having grown up in Melbourne, her time at the University of Melbourne Dookie Campus allowed her to experience the farm life and get involved with every aspect of the industry. She currently lives on a 200ha farm and enjoys spending her spare time exploring the area on her horse, Pete.