Western Panel

The panels ensure our investments are in the best interests of our growers and deliver impact to each grain-growing region.

If you would like to contact the Western Panel, please call 08 9230 4600 or email western@grdc.com.au


Find out more about the western region.

Panel Members


Image of Darrin Lee

Darrin Lee, Panel Chair

Mingenew, Western Australia

Darrin Lee was appointed to the Western Region Panel in 2014 and was appointed Panel chair in 2018. He has been farming in Western Australia’s Northern Agricultural Region for more than 20 years, with property now at Mingenew and Dongara. Darrin has a keen interest in digital agriculture and has a background in banking and finance. He is a past member of the CBH Group Growers Advisory Council and a previous Board member of Mingenew Irwin Group. Darrin is passionate about family, rural life, food production, technology, and agriculture in general.

+61 427 281 021


Image of Jules Alvaro

Jules Alvaro, Deputy Chair

Merredin, Western Australia

Jules Alvaro is a director of a broadacre, predominantly cropping business in Nokaning, in the Shire of Merredin in Western Australia. Jules has also been involved in off-farm industry roles since 2015, including serving as a member of the GRDC Western Region Panel since 2015, being a non-executive director on the boards of Partners in Grain (now Rural Edge) and Agricultural Women Wheatbelt East, and is currently on the Muresk Institute Advisory Committee. Jules is an alumni of Leadership WA’s Signature Leadership program. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company of Directors and has completed the General Manager Program at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at the University of New South Wales Business School.

+61 429 141 668


Image of Juliet McDonald

Juliet McDonald

Marchagee, Western Australia

Juliet is a Coorow grower and also works for Summit Fertilizers as an Area Manager for the North Midlands Area, which includes Coorow, Carnamah, Perenjori, Three Springs, Morawa and Mingenew shires. In this role she is in charge of agronomy-based fertiliser sales; nutrient recommendations based on soil and plant analysis; and research and demonstration on-farm to assist growers and grower groups with better fertiliser decisions. Juliet has a passion for agriculture and a wealth of experience, having worked as a sales agronomist with Elders, area manager – Kwinana West, for GrainPool, marketing manager with Coorow Seeds and research agronomist and extension officer with the Department of Agriculture. Juliet holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from The University of Western Australia and is qualified as a Fertcare® Accredited Adviser. In addition to farming, Juliet has a passion for rural communities and educating people about agriculture.

+61 429 945 332


Image of Rohan Ford

Rohan Ford

Binnu, Western Australia

Rohan Ford farms east of Binnu with his wife Carol, growing wheat, lupins and canola in a low rainfall zone with highly variable precipitation. Rohan has been on the farm since 1983 and Carole for 25 years. They have been using controlled traffic farming methods for 20 years. The Fords have also been involved over many years in trial work and projects related to a variety of areas that help to improve farming outcomes and increase knowledge in an ever-evolving industry. Rohan is also involved closely with the local grower group, holding various positions over many years and helping to provide mentoring for younger farmers.

+61 429 331 045


image of Peter Carberry

Peter Carberry

Dr Peter Carberry is the GRDC General Manager Applied Research, Development & Extension Business Group. Prior to joining GRDC in May 2020, Peter was the Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) headquartered in Hyderabad, India. Before joining ICRISAT in 2015, Peter spent 29 years working as a Research Scientist in CSIRO, based mostly in Toowoomba, Qld. Peter’s research expertise is in crop physiology, in the development and application of farming systems simulation models and in use of information systems in agriculture. He has been a key developer of the Agricultural Production Systems SIMulator (APSIM) modelling framework.

0419 656 955


image of Suzanna Woods

Suzanne Woods

Calingiri, Western Australia

Suzanne Woods is an owner of Emdavale Farms, a 3400-hectare mixed farming, family business in Calingiri, north-east of Perth. Oaten hay comprises 50 per cent of the cropping program, with the remainder being wheat, barley, canola and lupins. The business operates a small cattle and sheep enterprise. Additionally, the family operates a farm contracting business, concentrating mostly on mowing, baling and carting hay and straw. Suzanne is a founding shareholder in Hay Australia, a large export hay company with hay and straw production facilities located at Yerecoin in WA and Bridgewater in Victoria. Suzanne is a director of the Australian Fodder Industry Association and Regional Early Education and Development Inc. Suzanne recognises agriculture is continually evolving and sees research and development as the key to ensuring that Australian farming businesses and communities continue to be at the forefront of new technologies and applications.

0438 297 191


image of gary lang

Gary Lang

Wickepin, Western Australia

Gary has been a grower for 37 years, during which time he has grown the farm from a 1000-hectare Merino stud enterprise to a 5600ha cropping-focused business. He grows wheat, barley, oats, canola and lupins across 87 per cent of the farm, which is located north of Wickepin in Western Australia’s Upper Great Southern region. From a research perspective, Gary was a catalyst in initiating frost research confirming that high levels of stubble could increase frost damage to grain crops, after making observations on his own farm. This became a key research finding through GRDC-invested work conducted by the Facey Group, Living Farm and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Gary was a member of the GRDC National Frost Initiative steering committee from 2015 to 2019. He is the president of the Facey Group and has previously served as the grower group’s cropping coordinator, secretary and vice president.

0427 881 034


image of john blake

John Blake

Albany, Western Australia

John is a research and development consultant with Stirlings to Coast Farmers and an adviser with extensive experience in Western Australia’s northern, central and southern agricultural regions. He has also had substantial overseas agricultural experience, particularly in North Africa. John is originally from a farming family in Quairading, and then Mingenew-Irwin and Arrino. He has led research, development and extension (RD&E) programs at a local and State level – for projects with GRDC, Meat and Livestock Australia, National Landcare Program and Royalties for Regions investment. John has a degree in Agricultural Science from The University of WA and has extensive skills in agricultural sustainability, diagnostics for precision agriculture and farming systems analysis. John seeks to guide transformational outcomes in agriculture with a solid evidence base of good R&D and sound extension and communication processes.

0438 761 950


image of Natasha Ayers

Natasha Ayers

Vasse, Western Australia

Tash is the co-founder and managing director of AgriStart, a Western Australian company connecting key players in the agri-food innovation space. She has a background as an agricultural scientist, with a PhD in Plant Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, and has qualifications in university teaching, research commercialisation and leadership. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Tash spent eight years as an agricultural researcher and lecturer at The University of Western Australia, University of Glasgow, University of Southern California and University of Sydney. She is an experienced trainer and facilitator and has spent the past seven years leading strategic research and innovation projects in WA. Tash is from a farming family in Cunderdin and is currently based in Vasse in WA’s South West region.

08 9755 4997


image of richard williams

Richard Williams

Perth, Western Australia

Richard has worked across the Australian grain supply chain in operations; market research and big data analysis; strategic planning; stakeholder management; and international customer relations.  He understands customer expectations for quality and has a strong knowledge of grain value chains through his post-farmgate quality management roles with AWB Limited and the CBH Group. Richard is passionate about bringing together unique data sets through collaboration to tackle industry issues. His own consultancy business groIQ published big data research findings internationally. He has recently returned to work for the CBH Group in a logistics quality planning role. Richard has a PhD from Curtin University and a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from The University of WA.

0427 593 778


image of dan mullan

Dan Mullan

Perth, Western Australia

Dan Mullan is a wheat breeder with InterGrain and is committed to delivering improved grain technology to growers by integrating a wide range of scientific disciplines, engaging with industry groups and addressing agricultural challenges. He spent his early career with CSIRO and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), which provided him with excellent skills in high level science and a global perspective on research, development and extension (RD&E). Dan regularly engages with end markets for Australian grain to understand and extend information about the requirements of these markets. He maintains a close working relationship with researchers, breeders and management groups across Australia and the global plant breeding community. Dan’s focus is on improving the stability and profitability of the Australian grains industry, and he places high value on contributing to its development and assisting in strategic investment decisions.

0403 595 141