The Soil CRC (CRC for High Performance Soils) was established in 2017 to give farmers the knowledge and tools they need to make decisions on extremely complex soil management issues.
By bridging a gap between soil scientists and farmers, we will ensure that soil performance is increased not just in the short term, but in the long term.
Our practical, real-world outputs will allow farmers to optimise their productivity, yield and profitability, and ensure the long-term sustainability of their farming businesses.
Through its soil research and innovation program, the Soil CRC will develop new solutions that will unlock the potential of Australia’s agricultural sector.
It will address the billions of dollars in lost opportunity experienced by farmers and regional communities due to infertile and underperforming soils.
CRCs are led by passionate and motivated industry partners, and draw in the brightest researchers from across Australia to address issues of national significance.
The Soil CRC will deliver
• New mechanisms for financially rewarding management of high performance soils.
• New integrated soil management solutions that provide greater precision for farmers.
• New ways to measure the performance of soils.
• New advanced and innovative products to increase soil fertility and function.
Cooperative Research Centres Program
The Soil CRC was successful in its bid in 2017 as part of the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program. The CRC Program supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community. Australia’s network of CRCs operates across all sectors of Australia’s economy and society. Further information about the CRC Program is available at www.business.gov.au
The Soil CRC brings together an elite group of industry partners, with 39 Participants contributing $60 million cash and $104 million in-kind contributions.
the Hon. Michael Jeffery
AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd)
General Jeffery served as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia from 2003 to 2008. Prior to that, he had an illustrious military career before retiring in 1993, and was then appointed Governor of Western Australia until 2000. Post retirement as Governor, he established the research institute – Future Directions International (FDI) in Perth.
In 2013, General Jeffery was appointed by the Prime Minister as Australia’s Advocate for Soil Health. As national Soil Advocate, he has worked to raise public awareness of the critical role soil plays in underpinning sustainable productivity, delivering high quality ecosystem services and helping to meet global challenges including food security and climate change. His role as Patron of the Soil CRC aligns with his advocacy role and allows him to promote the objectives and capabilities of the CRC, whilst also providing valuable input to its directions and activities.
The Soil CRC is governed by a skills-based Board of Directors with an independent Chair and a majority of independent members. The Board provides oversight of the Soil CRC activities, performance and strategic direction.
Dr Paul Greenfield AO FTSE
Dr Paul Greenfield is a chemical engineer who worked at the University of Queensland holding senior roles including Vice-Chancellor (2008-2011), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost.
Dr Greenfield has extensive experience as a Board Director on company and CRC boards. He has worked widely with industry on projects spanning the biotechnology, water and energy sectors.
Dr Greenfield is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and the Institution of Chemical Engineers, UK and an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia.
Dr Greenfield is Chair of the International Water Centre and is on the Board of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
Malcolm Buckby is the Manager of the South Australian Grain Industry Trust (SAGIT), responsible for SAGIT’s investment in research and development projects to support the South Australian grain industry.
He is also the Manager for Rural Services for the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia. His office provides financial and administration services to 28 state and national agricultural groups.
Malcolm was elected as a State Member of Parliament from 1993 to 2006 in the South Australian electorate of Light. He graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science. As a former research economist and farmer, Malcolm brings a strong knowledge of agricultural issues to the Board.
Professor Kevin Hall
Professor Kevin Hall is the Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of Newcastle and was formerly the Vice-President for Research and External Partnerships at the University of Guelph in Canada.
He has held senior academic leadership positions at Queen’s University Canada. Professor Hall’s research career focussed on water quality modelling, development of environmental monitoring and pathogen detection systems, syndromic surveillance, and water and health in marginalized communities.
Professor Hall has been a board member for the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, Intersect, Newcastle Innovation, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources, CRC CARE, Bioconversion Network and a number of leading Canadian research organisations, partnerships and spin-off companies.
Ralph Hardy is a director and senior manager with extensive finance, commercial, and systems experience in the manufacturing and service industries. He currently leads multinational finance teams for the Ampcontrol Group, a role which provides the strategic direction, finance policies and governance framework to all companies in the Group.
He is responsible for provision of consolidated financial and management accounting support and reports, multinational shared service centres, treasury, finance funding, tax compliance, statutory compliance and mergers and acquisitions, together with financial management and advice.
Ralph has strong financial management experience in number of jurisdictions in Australia, Asia and Europe. Ralph is also a Director of CRC CARE.
Dr Anna Lavelle FTSE
Dr Anna Lavelle has 25 years’ experience serving on Boards. From 2005 to 2016, Dr Lavelle was the CEO of AusBiotech.
She has a PhD in Genetics from the University of Melbourne and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD). Dr Lavelle is a Fellow of the Academy of Technology Science and Engineering (FTSE) and the Leadership Victoria Program. In 2015, she was ranked in the global top 100 “World Visionaries” in biotechnology by Scientific American World View.
Dr Lavelle is also Deputy Chair of Medicines Australia, Non-executive Director of Haemokinesis, Chair of Australia National Digital Health initiative and Independent Director of ATSE Audit and Risk Committee.
Kate Lorimer-Ward has high level strategic planning and corporate governance skills and has been responsible for managing small and large programs, including RD&E units. She is a senior executive in the NSW public service, with the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
She has extensive knowledge of agriculture and agricultural communities from her roles in the NSW public sector over the past 25 years, has held positions on Boards and inter-jurisdictional committees, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Kate has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in soils and social geography, an Executive Masters in Public Administration and a Post Graduate Certificate in Climate Change for Primary Industries.
Diana Parsons is CEO of Central West Farming Systems Inc., a farmer-driven association in NSW. Diana and her husband also own and manage a livestock, cropping and irrigation farm.
Diana founded “Hear the Bush Beat” in 2009 to provide important community links to government departments and industry. She took part in the RIRDC “Women Affecting Change” program and undertook a Federal bipartisan internship designed to develop skills, strategies and networks to facilitate positive change in rural communities.
Diana is a Committee Member of Regional Development Australia Central West NSW and has served on many committees, including the NSW GRDC Farm Business Update Steering Committee and the South East Australia Barley Council. Diana has a Diploma of Agribusiness Management.
Robbie Sefton is the Managing Director of strategic communication company Seftons and a farmer of wool, meat and grains. Robbie’s strategic communication skills include issues management, corporate social responsibility, stakeholder analysis and engagement, media relations, community consultation, training, corporate image and brand identity, leadership, sponsorship and special interest/advisory group expertise.
In 2015, Robbie was named as a Westpac Australian Financial Review Woman of Influence and in 2002, she was RIRDC NSW Rural Woman of the Year.
Robbie is also Deputy Chair of the National Australia Day Council, and has sat on advisory panels for the Australian Taxation Office, the Reserve Bank of Australia and Woolworths.
Professor Roger Swift FTSE
Professor Roger Swift is Emeritus Professor of Soil Science at the University of Queensland, where he was previously Executive Dean of the Faculty of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Veterinary Science.
He has held a number of academic and research positions in soil science and agriculture at leading institutions in the UK, Australia and New Zealand and was Chief of the CSIRO Division of Soils and Chief Research Scientist (1993-2000).
Professor Swift is a world-renowned, extensively-published soil scientist whose major research interests lie in the area of soil chemistry. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and is a long-serving member of the International Union of Soil Science (1990-94 and 2006-18).
The management of the Soil CRC is led by a Chief Executive Officer, supported by a small operational and administrative team.
Dr Michael Crawford
Chief Executive Officer
Dr Michael Crawford has over 25 years’ experience in extension, research and science management in areas related to soil science, farming systems and natural resource management. Michael has an Honours Degree in agricultural science from the University of Melbourne, a PhD in soil science from the University of Adelaide, undertaken through the former CRC for Soil and Land Management, and an Executive Masters in Public Administration from the University of Melbourne and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.
He has operated at senior levels of government and research management, he has worked with grower groups and farming communities, and he has strong relationships with relevant industry stakeholders, universities and government departments. He commenced as the inaugural CEO of the CRC for High Performance Soils in September 2017.
Executive Assistant to CEO
Kathy has extensive experience working with executives in the Hunter Region in the public, education and private sectors. Kathy is a wealth of knowledge having been involved with the Soil CRC from inception in both the bid and establishment phases. Kathy provides administrative support to the CEO.
Kathy is passionate about people, the environment and the world in which we live and is proud to be a part of the Soil CRC – an innovative, collaborative organisation that is making a difference.
Jodi is a qualified scientist, manager and teacher, with over 25 years’ experience in the coordination and management of various scientific programs within the Australian agricultural industry, holding positions across industry, government and higher education sectors.
Jodi is responsible for the effective administration of the business, overseeing the project management, governance and operational functions of the Soil CRC.
From a seventh generation farming family in North-Western NSW, Jodi is passionate about Australian agriculture. She believes working towards improving sustainability and productivity will not only help her family, but other farming families to stay on their land.
As a Chartered Accountant who specialises in technology with start-ups and rapid-growth companies, Mark brings a wealth of commercial experience to the organisation. Most recently Mark was the Finance Director for Civica, a software company delivering local government solutions. Mark is responsible for the financial oversight of the Soil CRC.
Mark grew up on a farm, so is interested to see how scientists can help farmers increase productivity sustainably in this vast country of ours.
Jessie has many years of experience in the finance industry, including financial accounting work in the areas of telecommunication service. She has extensive financial accounting experience at a multinational company in the mining and metals industry. Jessie is responsible for payroll, payment of accounts, issuing invoices, reconciliation of project expenses and monthly accounts generating.
Jessie is excited to be working amongst so many scientists at the Soil CRC.
Katherine has over ten years’ experience working in Communications in both the not-for-profit and university sectors. She specialises in copywriting, editing and brand management. She is responsible for establishing the brand identity, website, and communications strategy for the Soil CRC.
Katherine is passionate about growing her own food on her small-scale acreage garden, so she understands and values the importance of healthy soil.