Our Staff

BCG is proud to be a major job provider for Birchip and surrounding towns. Our staff are highly trained and work across various areas, including research, extension, projects and operations.

Fiona Best

Chief Executive Officer

Fiona Best returned to BCG in November 2019 as CEO, after 9 years working in the education sector teaching agriculture. In her position as CEO, Fiona works to bring relevant agricultural research and extension opportunities to farming communities by attracting investments to improve the prosperity of broadacre farming locally, regionally and nationally.

Fiona is excited to be back at BCG because of the large part the organisation plays in the community and its role supporting farmers to be viable and prosperous. She is proud of BCG’s achievements and contributions over the last 28 years and has a strong desire to contribute positively to the ongoing journey and evolution of the group.

After growing up on her mixed enterprise family farm, cropping and producing sheep. Fiona studied a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne.

Phone: 03 5492 2787
Mobile: 0427 922 786

Kelly Angel

Senior Manager Operations
Kelly Angel joined BCG in December 2013. She is the Senior Manager of Operations managing the day to day tasks needing to be done by the research team, however she still has a foot in the research and extension areas as well, managing a number of research projects. Kelly’s main areas of interest within research are weeds and pests, as they are major constraints to production and she wants to find out what will give the best outcomes to growers for managing these challenges – although sometimes they are difficult to quantify.

Phone: 03 5492 2787
Mobile: 0427 564 507
Twitter: @KAngel62

Vin Delahunty

Senior Manager Engagement, Corporate & Business Services

Vin Delahunty joined BCG in December 2017 as Senior Manager of Engagement, Corporate and Business Services. He works on many of the ‘back-office’ roles like finance, membership and governance.

Vin believes that agriculture is unique in that there are a number of people who offer their time, expertise and other resources for industry and community good. He comes to work every day because he loves working with farmers.

Vin has experience managing the representation of Victorian dairy farmers.

Vin wishes he were better at golf and enjoys gardening.

Phone: 03 5492 2787
Mobile: 0468 995 355
Twitter: @vindella

Tom Draffen

Senior Manager Extension and Communication

Tom joined BCG in March 2020 as the Senior Manager of Extension and Communication.
Tom studied Arts at The University of Melbourne, followed by a Diploma of Conservation and Land Management at RMIT and a Graduate Diploma in Project Management at RMIT.
Tom comes from a farming family from Mortlake in the Western Districts of Victoria and has recently moved to Wycheproof with his partner following 8 years in Melbourne studying and working in Environmental Management, specifically Bushfire Management for the Department of Defence.
More recently Tom has worked as a Project Manager for the Buloke Shire Council overseeing the implementation of Federal funding programs.
Tom is passionate about rural communities and the people who live in them. He feels that BCG provides a great service to the region and gives back to the farming community and is looking forward to contributing to the great work that BCG is involved in.

Phone: 03 5492 2787
Mobile: 0418 304 695

James Murray

Senior Manager Research

James Murray joined BCG in 2014. He is the Senior Research Manager and works primarily on pulse agronomy, nitrogen management systems, crop nutrition and members trial coordination.

James likes working at BCG because of the variability of the work. He loves the people and the positivity of the agricultural industry.

James holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and joined BCG to develop his applied research skills. James loves playing football.

Phone: 03 5492 2787
Mobile: 0427 566 449

Brooke Bennett

Research and Extension Officer

Brooke Bennett joined BCG in Junes 2018 as a Research and Extension Officer. Her role is to work on field trials with a focus on GRDC National Variety Trials, SARDI vetch variety trials, and the pulse inoculation demonstration trial.

Brooke grew up on her family’s sheep farm and always wanted to be able to help other farming families. She joined BCG because she wanted to do meaningful research that would be directly helping farmers around her.

Brooke holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences from La Trobe University.

Phone: 03 5492 2787
Mobile: 0468 304 335

Claire Pickles

Senior Research and Extension Officer

Claire Pickles joined BCG in March 2007. She is a Senior Research and Extension Officer who works on GRDC National Variety Trials, GRDC Plant Establishment (canola and lentils) trials, and BCG members trials such as the canola nitrogen management trial.

Claire joined BCG because she wanted to work in the agriculture industry and likes being outdoors.

Claire holds a Bachelor of Agriculture from the University of Adelaide.

Claire is currently on maternity leave.

Phone: 03 5492 2787
Mobile: 0429 922 780
Twitter: @BrowneyBCG

Genevieve Clarke

Research and Extension Officer

Genevieve Clarke joined BCG in August 2017. She is a Research and Extension Officer who contributes to research trials run by BCG with a focus on projects such as; management of early sown wheat, optimising plant establishment, Russian Wheat Aphid and some pasture research.

Gen loves knowing that the work she is doing is providing relevant information to growers.

Gen holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with Honours from The University of Sydney.

Gen enjoys running and loves being outside with a dog or two.

Phone: 03 5492 2787
Mobile: 0422 988 088

Chris Cook

Technical Officer

Chris Cook joined BCG in 2015 to help with the 2015 cropping program and never left. His role is Technical Officer where he works on trial operations, and weather stations and soil probes.

Chris grew up and worked on the family farm, he enjoys doing something everyday and feels a sense of achievement from the praise the team receives for their trial work.

Chris is proud of his family, he loves watching his kids play sport, he also enjoys tinker in the workshop and has a hive of bees.

Phone: 03 5492 2787
Mobile: 0476 850 043

Kate Finger

Project Officer

Kate Finger joined BCG in May 2019. She is a Project Officer within the Business Development and Innovation team. She manages BCG’s weather station and soil probe network, coordinates communications for the managing climate variability project and ForeWarned is ForeArmed CoP and works on contract services trials.

Kate believes that the work she is a part of is helping to improve the profitability and sustainability of Australian agriculture.

Kate holds a Bachelor of Science – Majoring in Agricultural Science and a Masters of Agricultural Sciences specialising in Crop Production from the University of Melbourne.

Kate loves horse riding, gardening and exploring the outdoors.

Mobile: 0448 823 353

Alison Frischke

Senior Research and Extension Officer

Alison Frischke joined BCG in May 2010 as an Extension Officer. She specialises in livestock and farming systems research, extension and project management, working on projects such as; dryland legume pasture systems, understanding standing crops to finish lambs and improve summer ground-cover and soil health, and oaten hay agronomy.

Alison has a deep interest in agricultural production, the whole-farm system and rural communities. She enjoys sharing beneficial information with growers to help make production and business decisions.

Alison loves exploring the country, salt-water fishing and learning local history. She also makes a great fruit cake.

Phone: 03 5492 2787
Mobile: 0429 922 787

Phillip Guthrie

Innovations Leader

Phillip Guthrie joined BCG in March 2019 as Innovation Projects and Partners Leader. He manages projects such as; AgTIDE education and training, on-farm innovation groups, community transformation and improved rural telecommunications.

Phone: 03 5492 2787
Mobile: 0422 570 071

Angela Liston

Office Manager
Agriculture is like toilet paper; it’s necessary and universal.
It is more good luck than good management that I find myself embedded in the fabric of an organisation which contributes enormously to the improvement and advancement of this essential industry. The people who work to maintain vibrancy and sustainability in our rural communities inspire me, particularly strong and purposeful women. BCG is renowned for its vast contribution to successful agricultural practices across the Wimmera and Mallee and beyond; it is an honour to work here.

Phone: 03 5492 2787
Mobile: 0417 303 947

Kate Maddern

Research Agronomist

Kate Maddern joined BCG in November 2018. She is a Research Agronomist who works on BCG’s soil sampling program, barley grass and brome grass management trials, Wimmera CMA and Mallee CMA soil carbon projects and BCG members nitrogen management trials.

Kate joined BCG because she wanted to do research with farmers for farmers that would help them, their businesses and their communities thrive.

Kate holds a Bachelor of Science Advanced – Global Challenges with Honours from Monash University. Her honours research focused on how soil scientists could better communicate with agronomists and farmers to increase on farm adoption.

Kate enjoys netball and reading.

Mobile: 0458 950 394

Janine Batters

Tariq Gerardi

James Taylor

Louisa Ferrier

Learn more about other members of our team


Advisory Committee


Research Committee

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