Bret Ryan 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 lived most of his life in southwest 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 Coordinator
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.
Jessie Wettenhall Graduate Research and Extension Officer
Jessie commenced in 2021 as a casual whilst finalising her Agricultural Science degree at La Trobe University and became a Graduate Research and Extension Officer upon completion of here studies. A quick learner and a pro-active member of the team Jessie works on trials and projects for both the cropping and SP&L areas of SFS.
James Palmer Graduate Research and Extension Officer
James Staff in SW Vic are looking forward to officially welcoming James to the ranks on November 28. James has been a solid contributor as a casual since joining just prior to the last sowing period. James is from Pirron Yallock in SW Vic and is currently a casual worker whilst completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and Commerce. James also holds a Certificate IV in Wool classing.
Jillian Lyall Senior Research and Extension Officer
Jillian graduated from Charles Sturt, with a degree in Agricultural science with Honours in 2017, her experiences as a new Colombo scholar, an honors researcher, and most recent agricultural positions in Tasmania cultivate a unique way a looking at problems and presenting solutions. On-farm experience gained through a local upbringing and previous research trial and field technician roles made Jillian the ideal candidate for a Senior Research and Extension Officer in Tasmania.
Lisa Miller Manager - Soils, Pasture and Livestock
Lisa joined SFS in 2013 keen to seek new challenges after working for 20 years in pasture agronomy with the Department of Primary Industries. Lisa completed her Bachelor of Agricultural Science with honors at Melbourne University in 1992 and began her career working at Seymour where she grew up before relocating to work at Colac and Geelong. Lisa leads SFS's work in the areas of Soils Pasture and Livestock and is renowned for her work on soil acidity projects.
Natalie Jenkins Manager - Gippsland
Natalie manages Southern Farming Systems (SFS) activity in Gippsland and broadly across eastern 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 projects in Gippsland and beyond including SFS’s delivery of the Top Soils project for the East Gippsland CMA and community driven projects with the Gippsland Agricultural Group and Landcare.
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 Manager Operations - Victoria
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 Manager Operations - Victoria responsible for the seeding, spraying, and harvesting of the crops, and for servicing and maintaining the machinery and trial sites for the western district and is the SFS OH&S representative.
Brett Davey Manager - 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.
The SFS Manager - Tasmania, Brett joined the Tasmanian SFS team as a Senior Trials Operator 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 Manager Cropping - Victoria
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 become a key member of the team as a Senior Research and Extension officer and was responsible for a number of projects and trials including SFS variety management work, GRDC precision planter project and the southwest Victorian part of the MLA dung beetle project. Ashley was promoted to Manager Cropping - Victoria in 2022 overseeing the agronomic and project management of the Victorian cropping team.
Grace Evans Senior 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 and now as a Senior Research and Extension Officer Grace is focussed on the SFS VxM and contract trials, the Landcare Dung Beetle work and supports the cropping team project management.
Tahlia Ferguson Senior 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. As a Senior Research and Extension Officer in the area of Soils, Pasture and Livestock Tahlia's main duties include monitoring and extension of regional soil testing and lime trial results, pasture trials and work on MLA projects like benefits from livestock (sheep) Electronic Identification (eID). Tahlia has a background in cattle and sheep showing and a passion for sharing research results and new agricultural practices with farmers.
Audrey Gripper Senior Research and Extension Officer
Audrey has completed a Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England, moved to Victoria from her hometown of Kangaroo Valley, NSW and is excited to be working for SFS as a Senior Research and Extension Officer. Audrey has a keen interest in cropping agronomy, and this has seen her take a lead role in SFS's delivery of the GRDC National Variety Trials and other cropping projects.
Greta Duff Senior 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. As a Senior Research and Extension Officer Greta now leads our pulse and waterlogging work and has a keen interest in the logistics of SFS operations.