Dairy NSW Board of Directors

Dairy NSW is a company limited by guarantee run by a industry-based Board of Directors.

The board is made up of:

  • Four directors who are dairy farmers with diverse farming system backgrounds and from diverse geographic Dairy NSW regions
  • Four directors with specialist skills and experience in business, governance and industry

All Board members have a substantial dairy farmer contact base.

Director profiles

Dairy NSW
James Neal

James Neal is a fifth-generation innovative dairy farmer. For the past 10 years, he has been milking 700 cows on the family dairy farm on Oxley Island, near Taree on the NSW Mid-north coast. He has extensive agricultural research development and extension skills, having worked for NSW Department of Primary Industries and completing a PhD at the University of Sydney investigating forage water use efficiency. Given the persistently dry conditions over the last few years, this knowledge has proved invaluable for growing and utilising pasture as efficiently as possible - it is critical to remain profitable at a time when cost increases are generally much greater than milk price increases.

To improve uptake of research locally, James has been involved in on-farm research demonstrations to improve pasture production in autumn when forage is most limiting and alternative feed are expensive. He has a strong focus on profitability, as it is critical for the NSW dairy industry to be viable and successful for future generations of dairy farmers.

    Dairy NSW
    Andrew Smith
    Deputy Chair

    Andrew currently manages his family dairy business, and is a registered veterinarian, graduating with first class honours from Charles Sturt University in 2018. Andrew has a passion for the profitability, sustainability, and growth of dairy businesses. He grew up in a family dairy business and dedicated his tertiary education to building a strong grounding in dairy production. This included time spent studying in both New Zealand and the United States.

    Andrew brings with him innovative ideas, endless enthusiasm, and a genuine passion for the prosperity of the dairy industry. His vision for Dairy NSW is to provide quality extension to farmers, support valuable and targeted research and drive a culture of continuous improvement among the NSW farmer group.

      Dairy NSW
      Dimity Smith
      Industry Director

      Dimity is the daughter of dairy farmers from Scone, NSW. Based in Tamworth, she plays a significant role in supporting her family behind the scenes as they navigate the ever-changing dairy industry. Dimity is a registered non-practicing psychologist and has her own rural and agricultural events and marketing company that services rural and agribusiness corporates around Australia. Dimity has a strong passion for Australian agriculture as a result of her upbringing and has a strong motivation for helping agricultural businesses and organisations move into the future with innovation, great communications and marketing, diversity and inclusion management, and supportive workplaces.

        Dairy NSW
        Graeme Hollis
        Independent Director

        Graeme joined the Dairy NSW Board in October 2020. Graeme is presently the CEO of Invetus Pty Ltd, a contract veterinary research business based in Armidale, NSW. Prior to this role he was accountable for finance, HR, compliance, and risk management for Invetus. Graeme brings a wealth of agribusiness experience to the board following a 30-year career in dairy, cotton production, processing and marketing, agricultural finance and animal health research. Graeme worked in the dairy industry for dairy farmers during the 1990s and was actively involved in the equivalent of Dairy Business Monitor and Our Farm, Our Plan programs at that time.

          Dairy NSW
          Carissa Wolfe
          Farmer Director

          Carissa Wolfe co-owns and manages a 110-cow dryland pasture dairy business that was established in 2013 on the Mid-north coast.

          Over this time, she has experienced the wide spread of economic and environmental impacts that the NSW dairy regions have faced, together with the challenges of being a first-generation farmer. Carissa's regional dairy industry involvement includes sitting on the Mid Coast Dairy Advancement Group's Management Committee since 2015 and being active in the Mid Coast Women in Dairy group. Through her consultancy role, Carissa has brought a corporate background in management accounting, internal audit, and systems experience to support businesses across a wide variety of dairy management systems and dairy related organisations for more than 20 years.

            Dairy NSW
            Phil Ryan
            Farmer Director

            Phil Ryan owns and manages Hillgrove Dairy, a mostly dryland farm in the Bega Valley. His family have had beef cattle all his life and bought the dairy in 2007. Phil has managed the farm since 2010 after a career in IT project management and running a pub. Hillgrove is now milking about 250 cows, with a mix of registered Holstein and Jersey cattle. The challenges of dairying, especially on dryland in Bega, have inspired Phil to be highly involved in seeking to improve the dairy industry. This is his second term on the Dairy NSW Board. Phil represents the NSW Farmers' Association Dairy Committee as well as representing NSW on the Australian Dairy Farmers National Council. He also serves as Deputy Chair of the NSW Government Dairy Action Plan Implementation Panel. Phil is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

              Dairy NSW
              Donna Salway

              Donna owns and operates a 340 cow, dairy farm with her husband at Toothdale in the Bega Valley. Donna commenced to dairy in 2006 on her husband’s family dairy farm in Cobargo. In 2007, Donna took up a lease farm in Bemboka, moving to another lease farm in 2012 and finally purchasing the Toothdale farm in 2013. For the next 7 years Donna and her husband operated 2 dairy businesses which were consolidated in 2020. Donna has a Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Laws degree and an Advanced Diploma of Government (Workplace Inspection) and spent 15 years working for Safework NSW as a District Coordinator and finally an Acting Assistant State Inspector, where she successfully developed and implemented a Regional Harm Prevention Program titled Dairy Safe, before returning to the farm full time in 2018. Donna brings with her the skills and ability to review and audit systems relating to risk management, internal compliance and control, codes of conduct, legal, regulatory, and corporate governance compliance.

                Dairy NSW
                Trevor King

                Trevor completed a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Sydney University) and then worked as an Agricultural Consultant for 10 years. In 1997, he was employed by Dairy Farmers as a Field Officer responsible for Central West and Camden areas. Trevor was involved in the development and implementation of benchmarking, budgeting, and business planning programs in NSW. He was also given the role of Project Officer with responsibilities for the development of a website for farm results and for maintaining milk production forecasts. He continued with these roles under National Foods (& Lion) until he was moved into a finance role in 2014 with responsibility for improving the budgeting and reporting of milk cost. Under the new ownership of Bega, Trevor moved back into a Farm Services role - responsible for all of NSW excluding Bega and Riverina regions. In addition to over 35 years’ experience in Agriculture, Trevor is involved in an award-winning accommodation business and has actively participated in the thriving tourism industry in the Orange region.

                  Board duties

                  The board meets bi-monthly to chart the direction and policies of Dairy NSW. The board acts in accordance with the Dairy NSW constitution and the law in aiming to create and build substantial value for the dairy industry through the setting of effective strategies and financial objectives for the organisation.

                  The board's charter is implemented and managed by the Regional Manager who acts as Company Secretary to the board.

                  Related documents

                  • Dairy NSW Annual Report 2022-2023PDF8.01 MB

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