Executive & CommitteeDonate
Chair – Felicity Richards
After completing a law degree at the Australian National University, Felicity pursued a career in policy development and regulatory frameworks for ten years. Returning to the family farm in Tasmania in 2013, some rogue cattle led to a romance across the boundary fence. She and her husband Mark now manage a beef and lamb enterprise across property on Flinders Island and near Launceston.
In the family business, the demands of three small children and an enthusiasm for process, data collection and analysis has seen Felicity take on a largely administrative role. She heads the combined departments of Human Resources, Accounting, Workplace Health and Safety, Compliance and Risk. She jumps at the opportunity to get on her horse and out in the paddock around livestock whenever time permits.
Felicity juggles her family and farm responsibilities with chairing the Tasmanian Biosecurity Advisory Committee, the Tasmanian Red Meat Industry Steering Committee and Farmsafe Australia. She has completed the Tasmanian Leaders I-Lead program and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors' Foundations of Directorship.
Deputy Chair – Ruth Thompson
Ruth hails from a mixed farming operation in central west NSW but now resides in South East Queensland. Her drive and passion for industry has seen her hold diverse roles, including agronomy, Territory Manager for Nufarm and Projects & Installations Manager for Clipex Stockyards.
Ruth currently drives positive change for Agriculture in the form of Policy Director for AgForce Queensland, looking after the Grains commodity, as well as Workforce & Safety and Telecommunications & Social Policy.
Secretary – Kerri-Lynn Peachey
Kerri-Lynn is the Farm Safety Research Officer for AgHealth Australia (previously known as Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety), School of Rural Health, University of Sydney.
She has been working on health and safety programs and research in the agricultural and horticultural sectors since 2001. She is currently involved with monitoring all fatal and non-fatal incidents that occur in a rural setting and provides advice on farm safety, health and well-being to the broader farming community.
In addition operates a mixed cropping and livestock enterprise with her husband and two children, therefore recognises and acknowledges the necessity to enhance the safety and well-being of farming families.
Treasurer - Barb Vaschina
Growing up on a dairy and beef property in Southeast Queensland, Barb developed a curiosity of how nature, mechanical items, plants and animals interacted in the world around her. So, undertaking a Bachelor of Science at the University of New England was a natural fit to address this knowledge thirst.
Barb’s working life has taken her into the laboratory side of agriculture before moving into public service working with CSIRO to look after a program for the pig industry. It was here that the opportunity to specialise into Health and Safety arose, working in Health and Safety advisory and management roles. In 2017, the calling to get back to nature and land management, saw Barb move out of the public service and into the conservation sector working for Bush Heritage Australia as their Health and Safety Program Manager.
Barb’s aim is to bring her broad practical safety experience across a range of industries and knowledge of how to navigate the requirements of WHS and OHS legislation, to ensure that not just Bush Heritage workers, but their neighbours (mostly agricultural), partners, supporters and visitors are all safe and well every day. Barb shares her experiences freely within quarterly WHS Conservation Sector Forums, as a member of Farm Safe Australia and is a long-term member of the Australian Institute of Health and Safety.
Public Officer – Ben Rogers
Ben Rogers joined the NFF team in June 2017 bringing his experience in workplace relations and law to the role of General Manager, Workplace Relations and Legal Affairs.
Ben comes with a wealth of experience in the Industrial Relations/Workplace Relations area as Principal Solicitor in the ACT Government, and previously with Comcare and private legal practices in New South Wales.
Mike Norton OAM FAICD
Mike operates in partnership with his wife and two sons a beef, dairy, feed grain, sheep and wool enterprise in the south west of WA.
Former Deputy Chair Farmsafe Australia, Past President of WA Farmers WA, two terms Vice President of Cattle Council of Australia, Foundation board member WA Meat Marketing CO-OP, Six years chairman of Safe Farms WA currently Vice Chairman Safe Farms WA.
Currently board member of WA Farmers, chairman NLIS WA advisory committee, board member of WA Beef industry funding management committee. Several other community committees.
Chris is a 5th generation farmer operating with his family a mixed business of Persimmons,Hay / Grain production and livestock finishing in the Southern Riverina irrigation area of NSW.
Currently serving as a Board member and Chair of Workplace Relations for NSW Farmers and other associated committees. Chris also serves as President of Persimmons Australia.
Dr Elizabeth Lord
Dr Elizabeth Lord is a GP practising in Launceston. She grew up on a small farm in Northern Tasmania before completing her medical degree at the University of Melbourne. She has worked as a doctor across Australia including Geelong, Darwin, regional Victoria and Tasmania's northwest coast.
She is a qualified journalist and has worked at the Mercury newspaper in Hobart and for the leading GP publication, Australian Doctor, in Sydney. She has always had a keen interest in agriculture and is involved in her family's forestry business, and is currently an independent director on the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association board.
Dr Richard Franklin
Richard Franklin PhD, FPHAA, FARL , MSocSc (Health), BSc, GCertAustRurLeadership, GradCertEd, MACTM, is a pracademic who uses an evidence based approach to developing real world solutions to improving health, safety and wellbeing with a focus on health services, rural populations, those working in agriculture, disasters and drowning.
He is an Associate Professor in Public Health and the Director for the World Safety Organization Collaborating Centre - Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion at James Cook University. He has worked in Public Health with a focus on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion since 1996. He has worked on projects in the areas of general injury prevention, farm safety, rural safety, workplace health and safety, health promotion, alcohol and aquatic safety.
He has a PhD from the University of Sydney which explored injuries sustained due to farming and possible prevention strategies. Current project include barriers and facilitators to farm safety, child safety on farms, road safety, drowning prevention, benchmarking, quad bike safety, disaster resilience and ageing on farms.
Paul has been employed with Cotton Australia for 9 years currently as a Policy Officer with on farm safety one of his focus areas. Paul graduated from the University of Queensland Gatton College in 1994 after completing an Associate Diploma Agronomy and followed that up with further study at Griffith University graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Australian Environmental Studies. Paul was first employed in the cotton industry in 1992 and since then has enjoyed employment across the industry working on farm and across the service and supply chain.
Before relocating to Brisbane, Paul was located in Narrabri employed as the Regional Manager for Northern NSW with Cotton Australia. One of the main purposes of this role was to ensure grower participation of the cotton industries best management practices program myBMP. Paul has had experience with myBMP since 1998 where he worked as an on farm agronomist where implementation of the program including the safety facets which was incredibly important in raising on farm safety awareness.
Caroline has more than two decades of agribusiness experience, having held senior roles in both the public and private sector and with state and federal farmer representative bodies in Australia, including the former South Australian Farmers’ Federation and the Grains Council of Australia. She was the CEO of Grain Producers SA prior to joining PPSA, and brings skills in strategic communications, stakeholder management and regulatory affairs.
Caroline brings extensive experience in corporate governance and has served on a wide range of industry and community sector boards. Her current board appointments include the Australian Farm Institute, the South Australian Cricket Association, Foodbank South Australia and Rural Business Support. She is a Member of the South Australian Skills Commission, and Chairs the Agribusiness, Food & Wine/Beverages Industry Skills Council.
Executive Officer – Stevi Howdle
Stevi was born and raised in Alberta, Canada and has been involved with cattle and quarter horses from a young age. She now owns property in NSW where she and her husband breed and train stock and quarter horses and run a successful farm contracting business.
Stevi received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Victoria in British Columbia prior to moving to Australia and has recently become a certified equine assisted learning practitioner.
Her professional background includes working in the social services sector, marketing, local government, and now farm advocacy.
Stevi came on board as Executive Officer for Farmsafe Australia in March 2020, taking on an ambitious three-year project to overhaul the branding and organisational structure, bringing Farmsafe into the modern era to serve Australian farmers better.
Stevi took maternity leave for the 22/23 year but is back now, ready to help guide Farmsafe into a new era of funding, working with industry, corporate agriculture and government to ensure that Australian farmers have access to the information they need to produce our food and fibre safely and sustainably.