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Newsletter: SA State Report

By James Robertson, 2011 Scholar and Chair

November 2016

Looking back over the past 12 months it is hard to believe that so much has been crammed in to the year. A year ago the Pinery bushfire occurred (25-November 2015) with many Scholars directly affected, but it was pleasing and exciting to see the response from so many other Scholars who contributed in so many ways. For me, it was inspiring to see, and be a part of, the Nuffield family during this period. I wish all those Scholars and their families the very best for the coming harvest and season.

The State AGM and regional tour was held at Robe, in the south-east, in March. This was a great tour which included visits to Mayura Station, (Waygu beef cattle), Holla Fresh Hydroponics and the farm businesses of Paul Serle (2013 Sch) and wife Kylie, and Lachie Seears (2013 Sch) and wife Bec.

The tour was great fun, very informative and highlighted the collegial atmosphere of being a Nuffield Scholar. It was great to have Jim and Helen Geltch on the tour, the last with Jim as Nuffield CEO! A big thank you Jim and Helen for all your hard work over the years!

At the AGM, our long-term treasurer Graham Clothier (2005 Sch) officially stood down and Dave Reilly (2012 Sch) was elected to replace him. In addition, Helen Thomas (2010 Sch) retired as secretary and was replaced by Carly Bussenschutt (2013 Sch). We really appreciate the work Graham and Helen both put into their roles and we look forward to working with the new executives.

In May, we welcomed Jodie Dean to South Australia at a dinner attended by Scholars and partners in Adelaide. This was a pleasant and enjoyable evening which provided a good opportunity to meet the new CEO.

South Australia hosted the National Conference this year and it was fantastic to listen and hear from the returning Scholars, their journeys, findings and conclusions. It is the keystone event on the Nuffield calendar and the best opportunity to engage with new Scholars, returning Scholars, Nuffield alumni and the investors who are so important to the organisation.

The post-conference tour to Kangaroo Island was a fabulous success and a great opportunity to see the great opportunities that ‘the island’ provides, as well as seeing and hearing about the challenges also present. Thanks to all who welcomed us to their properties, we are all so much richer for the experience.

Three 2015 SA-based Scholars presented at the National Conference, Derek Tiller, Andrew Baldock and Ben Haslett (photos below). We look forward to reading their reports in the near future and congratulations to all three on a job well done.


Currently, there are four 2016 Scholars at various stages of their travel: Dennis Holder, Randall Wiklsch, Michael Vorassi and Jack England. I think the hard work is about to begin for these guys and it will be great to listen to their reports in Darwin at the 2017 National Conference.

It was a great pleasure to meet and interview candidates for 2017 scholarships during state interviews in July, and the result is that South Australia welcomes three new Scholars, Toby Bekkers, Jonas Woolford and Jamie Heinrich.

Our final social event for 2016 will be the Christmas Show on Saturday 3rd December. I look forward to welcoming you at Chowilla Station as we celebrate the year that has been.

I wish to express my sincere thanks to the state committee who have collectively made so much happen this year. I also encourage all Scholars who have completed their reports to get involved on the committee. Please remember that every Scholar’s journey starts with the state interview!

I would like to thank Deputy Chair Lachie Seears for taking on the challenge of National Conference Chair. Congratulations on doing a great job. Also, thanks to Carly Bussenschutt who organised the post-conference tour which was also an outstanding success.

Our efforts at a state level are supported by our state sponsors. The financial contribution made by the sponsors allow SA as a state to have their own scholar every three years as well as contribute to other scholars as and when the funds are available. Thank you to Nufarm, Zoetis, Cox Rural and Quality Wool.

I also want to acknowledge Primary Producers SA, who have formally invested in 2017 Scholar Jamie Heinrich. The work they do with Rob Kerin at the helm is greatly appreciated.

I wish also alumni and their families all the best for the remainder of the year and wish you a Merry Christmas and happy and prosperous New Year.

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