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 will work 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 we play in our community and our 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Senior Manager Research
James Murray joined BCG in 2014. He is the Senior Research Officer 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.
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.
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 enjoys playing netball.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Amy Harwood joined BCG in June 2019 as an Extension Officer. She organises and runs events, particularly those relating to the Pulse Extension Program.
Amy loves working with a great group of people attempting to find new ways to farm well in dry climates. She joined BCG because she wanted to “learn from some of the best”.
Amy holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne. Amy enjoys musical theatre, swimming and reading.
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 necessary and universal industry. The people who work to maintain vibrancy and sustainability in our rural communities inspire me, particularly strong and purposeful women. BCG is a renowned for its vast contribution to successful agricultural practices across the Wimmera and Mallee and beyond; it is an honour to work here.
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, reading and quite likes sheep.
Support Services Leader
Catherine Schroder joined BCG in 2012, her role is Support Services Leader. She works on Work Health and Safety, Information Technology and governance activities within BCG.
Cathy likes that BCG is big enough to have a variety of tasks, but small enough to make a difference as an individual. She works in agriculture because she wanted to learn more about it and believes she has learnt a lot.
Cathy loves to hike, read and sew.
David Whitehand joined BCG in March 2018 as a casual staff member who then went on to become a Technical Officer. His role is concerned with ensuring that the operational aspects of trials research are delivered, including activities such as; sowing trials, irrigation, soil sampling, chemical spray application and harvesting trials.
David was encouraged to join BCG because of his skills and this is where his agricultural research career began.