Keynote Speakers - Memorial Lectures

Dr Fred Provenza

Utah State University, USA


Topic: How Palates Link Soil and Plants with Herbivores and Humans

Dr Fred Provenza is Professor Emeritus of Behavioral Ecology in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University. He is a pioneer in understanding foraging behaviour and how behaviour links soils and plants with herbivores and humans. For 40 years, the research undertaken by Fred’s team laid the foundation for behaviour-based management of livestock and wildlife. That work has been an inspiration to researchers in diverse disciplines, including animal behaviour and welfare, wildlife damage science and management, veterinary science, ruminant and human nutrition, chemical ecology, plant ecology and horticulture, landscape restoration ecology, and pasture and rangeland science and management.

These efforts led to the formation in 2001 of an international network of scientists and land managers from five continents, called BEHAVE – Behavioural Education for Human, Animal, Vegetation and Ecosystem Management. They seek to inspire and enable people to understand and use knowledge of behaviour to create relationships that reconcile differences of opinion about how to manage landscapes. With colleagues, he has authored over 250 publications in scientific journals and books and invited to speak at more than 400 conferences. Dr Provenza will bring his perspective on the importance of a diverse diet to animals, and consequently how this impacts on human well-being and the demand for animal-based foodstuffs.

Dr Joao Vendramini

University of Florida, USA


Topic: Concentrate Supplementation of Grazing Beef Calves: Performance and Metabolic Imprinting

Dr Joao Vendramini, Brazil, received his bachelor degree in agronomy from the University of Sao Paulo, master degree in Animal Sciences from the same institution, and PhD in Forage management in the Department of Agronomy at the University of Florida in 2005. He was assistant professor – Forage Specialist at Texas A&M University from August 2005 to August 2006 before taking his current research and extension appointments in the UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center, Florida. Dr Vendramini’s program is dedicated to forage management with emphasis on sub-tropical production systems.

The major area of interest is forage-livestock interface and the impact of forage management on forage and animal production. Dr Vendramini’s research program has generated 3 book chapters; 101 refereed journal articles, 60 non-refereed technical articles, and 100+ abstracts in professional meetings. He has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on grants totaling $1.2 million and currently is the chair or co-chair on 3 graduate students committees and serving as a member of additional 3 committees. Dr Vendramini is a member of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, America Forage and Grassland Council, American Society of Animal Sciences, American Registry of Animal Science Professionals, and Florida Cattlemen’s Association.

Dr David Masters

University of Western Australia, Aus


Topic: Practical implications of mineral and vitamin imbalance in grazing sheep

Dr Masters has more than 30 years’ experience as a scientist and research leader with CSIRO, the University of Western Australia and in private industry. He has a research background in livestock systems, mineral, amino acid and protein nutrition, wool production and livestock-environment interactions. He began his career studying the requirements and utilisation of zinc during pregnancy before working more generally with cobalt, selenium and copper in grazing sheep and later in the development and effectiveness of mineral supplements for ruminants. As a leader of the Livestock Systems program within the Salinity CRC, Dr Masters initiated research into the utilisation of halophytic plants, high in sodium, potassium and chlorides for production.

This research provided the basis for rehabilitation of saline landscapes for productive agriculture in Australia and overseas. More recently he has provided scientific leadership for a national research program investigating the imbalanced intake of sodium, magnesium, potassium and calcium in pregnant sheep grazing young, vegetative crops. Dr Masters was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Society of Animal Production in 2006 and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia and an Honorary Fellow with CSIRO Agriculture.

Prof Paul Hemsworth

University of Melbourne, Aus


Topic: Key determinants of animal welfare: animal management and housing design

Prof Hemsworth is a professor at the University of Melbourne and a member of the Animal Welfare Science Centre, a joint centre of the University of Melbourne, University of Adelaide, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (Victoria), South Australian Research and Development Institute and Ohio State University. Prof Hemsworth is an agricultural graduate with a PhD in animal behaviour and physiology.

He is most recognised internationally for his research on the role of human-animal interactions on farm and companion animal welfare. Prof Hemsworth, in collaboration with numerous colleagues has studied the influence of a wide range of housing and husbandry practices on common behavioural problems and welfare risks in farm animals. Over his research career, he has published more than 200 refereed journal papers on animal behaviour and welfare. He teaches undergraduate and postgraduate subjects on animal behaviour and animal welfare at the University of Melbourne.

Keynote Speakers

Edwina Beveridge

Farmer and Innovator, NSW


Topic: Saving the planet – one pig at a time. Making power from poo and saving landfill by feeding pigs, an innovative pig farm is kicking sustainability goals.

Edwina and her husband own and operate Blantyre Farms, a 2,200 sow pig farm and a mixed farm of sheep, cattle and crops. In the last ten years, the pig farming operation has doubled in size, plans are underway to continue expansion. In operation for five years, a methane digestion system captures methane gas from pig manure and converts it into electricity. Blantyre also utilises other people’s food waste products for pig feed and saves thousands of tonnes of landfill. Edwina has a commerce degree from the University of Sydney and is a former chartered accountant turned pig farmer. Edwina is on the board of Australian Pork Limited, the Deputy Chair of the NSW Farmers Pork Committee and is a member of the NSW Primary Industries Ministerial Advisory Committee. She has 3 children, is involved in her local community and is proud to be a farmer.

Dr Cameron Clark

University of Sydney

Session: Big data – what’s the value and its potential?

Topic: Dairy farming within boundaries: Taking away complexity whilst adding efficiency through technology

Dr Cameron Clark is enabling a step-change in livestock productivity and welfare both in Australia and internationally through novel, collaborative and interdisciplinary research. This research is changing the global focus of farming towards the individual production animal to improve efficiency and welfare by revealing the value of technology, data and associated advanced precision livestock systems. He plans to expand on this highly innovative research to link the individual production animal and farm practice with the needs of the market and in so doing, add significant value to the food produced in systems that exceed the welfare demands of society. Cameron is a senior research fellow at the University of Sydney.

Dr Jay Johnson

United States Department of Agriculture, USA

Session: A systems approach to improving livestock productivity

Topic: Evaluating and mitigating the impact of heat stress on livestock well-being and productivity

Dr Jay Johnson is a Research Animal Scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in West Lafayette, Indiana specializing in Environmental Stress and Nutritional Physiology. He received his Bachelor and Masters degrees from the University of Missouri, his PhD from Iowa State University, and completed his postdoctoral training at Purdue University. The overall goal of Dr Johnson’s research program is to evaluate the impact of environmental and production stressors on livestock physiology, welfare, and metabolic health to develop management and nutritionally-based mitigation strategies that will improve animal well-being and productivity. Specific areas of research include the effects of weaning and transport stress on the well-being of swine provided L-glutamine as an antibiotic alternative, the impact of in-utero heat stress on postnatal productivity and bioenergetics in swine, and the use of rapid versus gradual cooling after extreme heat events.

Prof Wendy Umberger

University of Adelaide, Aus

Session: Consumer demands and animal welfare

Topic: Demand for Animal Welfare and Ethical Attributes in Meat: What do consumers really value?

Professor Wendy Umberger is the Foundation Executive Director of the Centre for Global Food and Resources (GFAR) at the University of Adelaide. She was the 2016-2017 President of the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES). She is a Fellow of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), serves on the Governance Board of the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the editorial board of Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy. She has spoken globally on topics related to her behavioural economics research, which uses innovative methods to understand drivers and implications of changing consumer and producer behaviour on food systems. She is also studying the impact of urbanisation, modern retail transformation and development programs on food consumption patterns, diet quality and longer-run health and livelihood implications across the region, including Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Fiji. She holds a Bachelor of Animal Science (1996) and Masters in Economics (1998) from South Dakota State University and a PhD in Agricultural Economics (2001) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Wendy was raised on a beef cattle and grain farm, which is still owned and operated by her parents in South Dakota USA.