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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 Billing

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

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

 

Jacqueline Suares
Farmer Director

 Jacqueline Suares

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 Glennen

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
Farmer Director

 Jessica Howe

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

Brendan Rae

Farmer Director

 

Brendan has been farming on a multi-generational family farm in the Allansford area for the past 38 years. He is confident about the future of the industry but says it’s not without challenges.

“Being able to adapt to change is one of the challenges facing all farmers as we cope with the ongoing issues of profitability, staffing and the demands being thrown at us from many angles.”

Brendan believes communication at a local level was vital to the industry’s success.

“I want to ensure a good delivery of the knowledge and advice that Dairy Australia generates through their research funded by our levies,” he said.

“Making that knowledge relevant to local farmers and being able to deliver it as a package in a timely and relevant fashion is vital.”

Contact

Brendan Rae
Email: brendan.m.rea@gmail.com 

Mike Huth

Non-Farmer Director

 

Mike grew up on a dairy farm in Queensland and now works at Genetics Australia as a field sales manager. He has worked in the AI industry for 22 years after studying agribusiness at the University of Queensland.

Mike believes the dairy industry is at a turning point and he’s keen to be part of its reinvigoration.

“We need to work with local farmers to guide them to the most profitable and productive way forward. “With my understanding of dairy farming and dairy genetics, I bring a different perspective to a non-farming Board director role.”

He wants to collaboratively support farmers and those in the broader industry to improve their productivity and profitability.

Contact

Mike Huth
Email: mhuth@genaust.com.au 

Jo Fife

Associate Farmer Director

 

Jo wants to be an advocate for women in dairy and to encourage more young people into the industry.

Mrs Fife, who farms at Purnim West after moving from New Zealand 10 years ago, is also determined to promote a positive path for young people entering the industry.

“Our future depends on getting young people involved so we need to promote dairy as a great vocation,” she said.

Jo was previously in the New Zealand navy and worked in other professions, including disability support. “I think I have a slightly different outlook; not just the traditional farming outlook,” she said.

Contact

Jo Fife
Email: brent.jofife@gmail.com 

 

 

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