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The Board's role is to ensure the levies collected from our region's dairy farmers are directed to regionally relevant research, development and extension.

Our Board

WestVic Dairy is run by a Board of Directors, made up of six farmers and two industry service providers who meet eight times per year.

The role of the Board is to ensure that levies collected from our region's dairy farmers are directed to regionally relevant research, development and extension. Then making the results of this research easily accessible to our region's dairy farmers with the intent to increase profitability and sustainability of the western Victorian dairy industry.

Simone Renyard - Chair
Farmer Director

  

Simone joined the industry with her husband Nick, after meeting at university 21 years ago, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology).

Simone was very much a city girl prior to coming back on the farm: "I didn't realise all the wonderful paths the industry has to offer, before I became involved."

Simone participates in a number of industry bodies, including Dairy Australia and Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF). Across her career, both on and off-farm, Simone has focused on people performance, “my real love is the people side.

On farm, Simone has a series of roles, from business structure decision making to young herd management, people and performance.

Contact

Simone Renyard - Chair
Email: srenyard@bigpond.com

 

Mark Billing - Vice Chair
Farmer Director

 

Mark farms in partnership with his wife Sam on the family farm 5km west of Colac, operating a dryland, pasture-based farm business, milking registered Holsteins. As a fourth generation dairy farmer, Mark has a passion for the dairy industry and is driven to contribute to its ongoing success.

In 1988, Mark completed his dairy apprenticeship on the family farm and was awarded the UDV Apprentice of the Year for his contribution. He later graduated with an Advanced Diploma of Farm Management from the University of Melbourne, Glenormiston campus.

Mark has been a member of the Future Dairy steering committee for a number of years, overseeing major research projects at Sydney University, working on forage research and robotic milking systems. Mark also chairs a Dairy Australia committee investigating the use of Precision Dairy (PD) technologies in Australia and New Zealand.

Mark was a Director of the Bonlac Supply Company and Chair of the Fonterra Supplier Forum.

Contact 

Mark Billing
Vice Chair
Email: mark.billing@bigpond.com

 

Rhonda Henry - Treasurer
Non-Farmer Director

 

Rhonda Henry is an agribusiness banker, who has worked in banking for 44 years, the last ten years with a focus on dairying.

Based in Warrnambool for all her working life, Rhonda is passionate about the region and its farmers. Throughout her career Rhonda has had a number of customer service, lending and administration roles.

One of the main reasons Rhonda joined the WestVic Dairy Board was to give back to the industry and help do her bit to creating a sustainable and profitable dairy industry.

Contact

Rhonda Henry
Treasurer
Email: henryrd57@gmail.com

 

Dr Gemma Chuck
Non-Farmer Director

  Originally from the U.K, Gemma and her husband Jason initially moved to the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland in 2007 and then to south west Victoria.

Gemma hold a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine from The Royal Veterinary College in London and has worked as a vet with a dairy emphasis. She also taught at James Cook University and later, at the University of Melbourne, teaching dairy cattle medicine and surgery for veterinary undergraduates.

Gemma completed her PhD on the long term benefits of optimal calf management in south west Victorian dairy herds.

Gemma is now working for APIAM animal health and enjoys working with dairy farmers to improve calf health. She hopes that the work achieved by her research will help the industry as a whole.

Contact

Gemma Chuck
Email:gemma.chuck@apiam.com.au

 

Michael Hawker
Farmer Director

 

Michael was born on a family dairy farm and started work immediately supervising the milking from a baby capsule strapped to the wall of the dairy! The work didn’t stop there, with Michael droving the herd by four and by eight, driving the tractor, feeding out and raking silage.

Michael currently manages the family farm at Heywood, milking 600 cows on 400ha. Over the years, Michael has been heavily involved in the YDDP and YDN across his career both gaining experience and giving back to the community.

Michael joined the WestVic Dairy Board to represent the views and guidance of local farmers and give back to the industry. Michael hopes he will also provide youthful and innovative views that represent the young farmers in the western Victorian Region.

Contact

Michael Hawler
Email:hawker_123@hotmail.com

 

Jacqueline Suares
Farmer Director

 

Jacqueline Suares is a Larpent dairy farmer who has been involved in the industry for more than 40 years alongside her husband, a fourth generation dairy farmer. The family milk 170 cows on approximately 130ha.

Whilst working off-farm throughout her career, Jacqueline’s connection with the industry has always been strong. After retiring as CEO of a community service organisation, Jacqueline realised she wanted to do something to stay active and give back to the community, “Joining the WestVic Dairy Board seemed like the perfect way to do just that,” she said.

With the industry in a state of constant change, Jacqueline’s goal is to help farmers better manage their businesses in order to adjust to the changes, “My biggest passion is people and I want to help farmers to adapt to the rapid changes that have become the new norm in our industry”.

Contact

Jacqueline Suares
Email: calderbrae2@bigpond.com

 

Matthew Glennen
Farmer Director

 

Matthew works on the family’s dairy farm Dixie Park Farm Trust, which milks approximately 500 cows on 280ha. Matthew graduated with a Bachelor of Business Agricultural Management and over the years has been involved in numerous discussion groups across the district.

Working at Warrnambool Cheese & Butter and Reid Stock Feeds has given Matthew an understanding of the industry from both the service provider and farmer perspective. He said he was hoping to bring a young perspective to the Board and to improve the engagement with young people in the industry, “I want to help improve the projects and activities we have to offer to make sure we are delivering what farmers want,” he said. “I believe the future for dairy farming is bright and there are a lot of young passionate people out there.”

Contact

Matthew Glennen
Email: matthew.glennen@gmail.com

 

Jessica Howe
Associate Farmer Director

 

Aside from farming with her husband and his family on their farm in Naringal, Jessica also works as a field officer at Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory.

In 2012, Jessica was one of the 14 graduates of the inaugural Great South Coast Leadership program and has completed a Bachelor in Agriculture with Charles Sturt University and has worked on several farms across the region.

Jess said joining the WestVic Dairy Board was one step towards achieving her goal of supporting young farmers in the industry, “I’m very passionate about helping young people who want to start their career in the industry with finding their pathways,” she said.

“Being on both sides of the fence, as a field officer and a farmer, is challenging at times, but it also gives me a good understanding of the issues on both sides.”

“I hope that this will add a unique perspective to the Board.”

Contact

Jessica Howe
Email: jessicawestwick@live.com.au

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