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Keynote Speakers

Professor M.S. Swaminathan is the UNESCO Chair in Ecotechnology at the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India, Chairman of the Indian National Commission on Farmers and President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

Acclaimed by TIME magazine as one of the 20 most influential Asians of the 20th century and one of the only three from India, Prof. Swaminathan has been described as "the Father of Economic Ecology" and as "a living legend who will go into the annals of history as a world scientist of rare distinction".

Prof. Swaminathan was Chairman of the UN Science Advisory Committee set up in 1980 to implement the Vienna Plan of Action. He also served as Independent Chairman of the FAO Council and President of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. A plant geneticist by training, Prof. Swaminathan's contribution to the agricultural renaissance of India have led to his being widely referred to as the scientific leader of the green revolution movement. His advocacy of sustainable agriculture leading to an ever-green revolution makes him an acknowledged world leader in the field of sustainable food security. The International Association of Women and Development conferred on him the first international award for significant contributions to promoting the knowledge, skill, and technological empowerment of women in agriculture and for his pioneering role in mainstreaming gender considerations in agriculture and rural development.

Prof. Swaminathan was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1971, the Albert Einstein World Science Award in 1986, and the first World Food Prize in 1987. He is a Fellow of many world scientific academies and has received 50 honorary doctorate degrees.

Associate Professor Mike Ewing is Deputy CEO of the CRC for Plant-based Management of Dryland Salinity in WA with management responsibilities for the plant improvement program. New plants under development are woody and herbaceous perennials as well as salt and waterlogging tolerant plants which will be used as components of new and profitable farming systems with enhanced sustainability.

As a long term employee of the West Australian Department of Agriculture and Food, Dr Ewing has had roles in extension and research with an emphasis on developing strategies to increase the profitability and flexibility of mixed crop/livestock farms. Most recently his research and management efforts have focused on pasture breeding, selection and agronomy. He played a key role in shifting the focus and activity in pasture breeding and selection for the cropping zones of southern Australia away from established species, such as subterranean clover, towards a diverse array of alternative annual forage legumes. New species and cultivars released as a result of this work have enhanced the flexibility, profitability and sustainability of mixed crop/livestock farming systems.

A key motivation behind Dr Ewing’s work has been to understand and optimize the role and impact of both crop and pasture legumes in farming systems. A significant advance in the understanding of these issues has arisen from the development of whole-farm bio-economic models such as MIDAS (Model of an Integrated Dryland Agricultural System). He was a co-initiator of this multi-disciplinary research effort and has remained engaged with it through more than 20 years of its development and use.

Mr Stuart Higgins was born and grew up in the city. He completed an Agricultural Science degree at the University of Queensland in 1991 and began farming in the same year near Jandowae on the Darling Downs. For the past 12 years he has been growing irrigated cotton.

He has completed post-graduate studies in Cotton Production at the University of New England in Armidale, consulted in Asia for the Mekong River Commission, Uzbekistan for CNH, and Mozambique for the Department of Agriculture. Mr Higgins was awarded a Vincent Fairfax Fellowship for Leadership and Ethics and received several awards for his contribution to the rural sector. In conjunction with ABC Radio National he produced the multi award winning radio programme called “Grow Your Own”, looking closely at the complexity of producing quality cotton in today’s environment. He also produced ABC Radio National’s “Bush Telegraph Water Challenge”, a series analysing water use across Australia. He frequently offers his perspective on rural issues in the media.

Dr Peter McIntosh is an oceanographer and climate scientist with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research in Hobart, Tasmania, where he has worked for 17 years. Prior to that he worked with the Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre in Melbourne.

Dr McIntosh has a PhD in Applied Mathematics and Oceanography from Monash University. His research interests have ranged from inverse problems and data assimilation, ocean modelling and the representation of small-scale processes, through to climate change scenarios for Tasmanian Hydro. His main focus in recent years has been on seasonal climate processes and forecasting, and the integration with agricultural decision-making.

Dr McIntosh is a Principal Research Scientist leading a team working on a number of projects related to seasonal climate forecasting and applications. External partners include scientists from the WA Department of Agriculture and Food, South Australian Research and Development Institute, Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research and a number of other CSIRO Divisions. Funding sources include GRDC, Land and Water Australia and the CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship.

Professor Rick Roush’s career spans research, teaching, regulatory, and administrative appointments in both the US and Australia. Rick earned his Ph.D. in entomology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1979. Before joining the University of Adelaide in 1995, Prof. Roush was an associate professor at Mississippi State and Cornell Universities. After working eight years in Adelaide, including as Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Weed Management (1998-2003), Prof. Roush returned to California in March 2003 to become Director of the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program. As Director, Prof. Roush has responsibilities for guiding UC research and extension on a wide range of problems, such as reducing pesticide use, containment and management of newly introduced pests in natural ecosystems, and advice for urban gardeners. In 2004, Prof. Roush was also appointed acting Director of the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program. He has held senior committee appointments in the US and Australia, including on a committee reviewing pesticide resistance for the US National Academy of Sciences (1984-86) and to the Australian government genetic engineering regulatory committees, GMAC and GTTAC (1998-2003).

Prof. Roush has been internationally recognized for his research on pest management since the 1980s, and has published widely on biological control, genetics, toxicology, and the ecology of insects, mites and weeds. A particular emphasis has been to develop integrated solutions for slowing or preventing the evolution of pesticide resistance. He has been involved in pest management efforts in China, the Philippines, Malaysia, South Africa and India. In the 1990’s, Prof. Roush was a principal architect of the resistance management strategies for insect tolerant transgenic (GM) crops, including cotton, potatoes and corn in several countries. An Australian citizen, he and his family look forward to an eventual return to Australia.

Dr Maarten van Ginkel was born in Holland. He has academic degrees from Holland and the USA in genetics, breeding and plant pathology. For 20 years he worked for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) as a wheat breeder, and for two years as Head of Wheat Genetic Resources and pre-breeding. A major part of his work involved the initiation, development and use of synthetic wheats in global wheat breeding. During this time with CIMMYT, he was based in Turkey for three years working in the Mediterranean region, in Ethiopia for two years working in eastern, central and southern Africa, and in Mexico at CIMMYT head quarters. Dr van Ginkel co-developed more than 100 varieties of wheat, mostly for developing countries. He has published more than 50 articles in international refereed journals on all aspects of wheat genetic research and about 200 articles in total. He is presently Principal Research Scientist for the State Government of Victoria, Australia, in charge of providing scientific guidance to all crop breeders, moving their programs from conventional breeding to molecularly enhanced breeding. The crops under his supervision are: wheat, barley, chickpeas, lentils, faba beans, peas, canola, potato, strawberry, pears and peaches.

Dr. Bevan Buirchell is a University of Western Australia graduate with PhD in Biochemistry in 1981. He joined the Department of Agriculture and Food WA in 1988 as Research Officer looking at domestication of the rough-seeded lupin species through mutation and interspecific hybridisation.

He was appointed to the position of plant breeder in 1992 and became the senior lupin breeder in 1999.
Dr. Buirchell has fully domesticated two wild species of lupins, L. atlanticus and L. pilosus and has extensive experience in the breeding of commercial lupin species. Currently he is leading the lupin breeding program with DAFWA where he is using molecular markers in a recurrent selection breeding program to breed for yield and disease resistance.

Professor Achim Dobermann is professor of soil science and nutrient management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From 1992 to 2000 he was a soil scientist and Project Team Leader at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Phillipines. During that time, he led a multi-national research program on productivity and developing new concepts and tools for site-specific nutrient management in irrigated rice systems. Prof. Dobermann currently conducts research on nutrient cycling, ecological intensification, crop modelling, soil greenhouse gas emissions, geospatial analysis and approaches for site-specific nutrient management in major cereal production systems of North America and Asia. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and has published two books and more than 200 papers, including 70 papers in peer-reviewed international journals.

Dr Rick Llewellyn grew up on a farm on the Murray River in South Australia and has an Agricultural Science degree from the University of Adelaide and a PhD in Agricultural & Resource Economics from the University of Western Australia. His research interests include farming systems research, adoption of new technology and herbicide resistance management. After working in crop and pasture field research at the University of Adelaide he further developed his interest in farming systems and adoption as a coordinator of farmer-led groups on Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. He lectured in agricultural systems and extension at the University of Western Australia where his research projects included the adoption of no-till cropping systems in Australia, herbicide resistance management strategies, the economic value of agronomic R, D & E, and the development of sustainable practices for intensifying rice-growing in the Philippines. He also led the WA Herbicide Resistance Initiative Extension & Economics program, was a task leader in the CRC for Australian Weed Management and was on the management committees of the Grower Group Alliance and Local Farmer Group Network since their inception. Now with CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems in Adelaide, his work includes the development of tools for precision agriculture with the Mallee Sustainable Farming group. He chairs the national Glyphosate Sustainability Working Group and is involved with grower group networks through the Agricultural Excellence Alliance.

Professor Tim Reeves FTSE has worked for 38 years in agricultural research, development and extension, mostly focussed on sustainable agriculture in Australia and overseas. He was a pioneer of no-till research in NE Victoria, whilst based at the Rutherglen Research Institute. His professional career includes positions in the Department of Agriculture, Victoria; Foundation Professor of Sustainable Agricultural Production, Adelaide University (1992-95) and Director General of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) based in Mexico (1995-2002). Recent roles include: Member, United Nations Millennium Project Task Force on Hunger; Chair, NSW Agricultural Advisory Council on Gene Technology; Member, European Commission Expert Group for Evaluation of Framework Projects; Chair, Academic Advisory Board on International Community and Development Studies, and Adjunct Professor, Deakin University; Professorial Fellow, Melbourne University; Chair, Board, Joint Centre for Crop Innovation, Melbourne University. Prof. Reeves is a Director of GRDC and a former President of the Australian Society of Agronomy. He has received several international and national honours, including the Centenary of Federation Medal, and has published extensively. He is Principal of Timothy G. Reeves and Assoc. Pty. Ltd., specializing in national and international consulting in agricultural research and development.

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