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Speaker Info

Professor Travis Beddoe

Prof Beddoe completed his undergraduate studies at La Trobe University, majoring in Biochemistry and then completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne. Currently, he is Head of the Department of Animal, Plant and Soil Sciences at La Trobe University (Bundoora campus) where he leads the Agriculture Bio-Solutions laboratory that has a complete “Bench to Barn” research program on improving animal health and wellness by focusing on 1) field deployable diagnostics, 2) molecular understanding of disease pathogenesis 3) sustainable treatment solutions (vaccines).

Ben Brown

Ben Brown joined Select Harvests as Project and Technical Manager in November 2014. Ben’s role was to lead the development of greenfield orchards and expansion of the company’s horticultural assets. In addition, Ben led the development, monitoring and evaluation of the horticultural program, and assist in its implementation. On 1st April 2018, Ben was appointed the General Manager Horticulture.

Before joining Select Harvests, Ben was the Industry Development Manager at the Almond Board of Australia for nearly eight years, and an irrigation and soil agronomist at Yandilla Park for a similar duration. In addition to this, Ben’s had experience in the applied production of almonds, stonefruit, citrus and carrots.

Ben is an Applied Science graduate with Honours in Soil Science and has nearly 20 years’ experience across perennial irrigated horticulture with expertise in: orchard development; production horticulture; the development of detailed RD&E strategies; and extension and technology transfer of best practice.

Lindsay Callaway

Lindsay Callaway is the current owner and managing director of Warral Maldon, based in central Victoria with over 3,500 hives.

Warral Maldon found its beginning with an Edward Teague Penglase in 1896 – Lindsay’s great-great grandfather, making him the fifth-generation owner. Growing up in the industry, Lindsay inherited his love of bees from his dad, Roger and has continued his legacy of innovation and excellence in the beekeeping profession.

He is constantly on the hunt for the best when it comes to his business, from hive production and transportation, equipment standards and biosecurity, to honey and beeswax processing, queen bee breeding, research and quality standards.

Lindsay is happiest when out on the road with his bees chasing honey flows and is passionate about sharing what he’s learned to benefit the wider industry and tackling its biggest challenges together as a community.

“For generations, most people had little knowledge or even cared about where honey came from, how it was collected, processed and packaged. Most people had a distant view of beekeeping generally. But in the last twenty years, the awareness and role of bees have heightened enormously.

So now there’s a lot of interest in bees, saving bees, how we need bees for one third of our crops, need bees to pollinate. And, of course, for yummy honey.”

Ally Driessen

Ally Driessen has been with Agriculture Victoria since 2018 and delivers Victoria’s part of the National Bee Biosecurity Program. She is passionate about helping beekeepers to deal with already established pests in Australia as well as prepare for incursions by exotic pests. She plays a major role in the training and administration of Victoria’s State Quarantine Response Team (SQRT) which employs industry beekeepers to work alongside government in the event of an exotic incursion.

John Edmonds

My father kept bees from just after War 2 and as children we helped him and accompanied him to the bees. In 1976 my employment was looking like closing down so with the help of my father I started beekeeping myself. The company was taken over and expanded and my job was secure and I became a travelling salesman throughout Victoria. This allowed me to find bee sites and develop my beekeeping hobby. When I turned 40, I was frustrated with the corporate world and decided to become a commercial beekeeper. Shortly after my father retired from beekeeping after a car accident. The business developed and expanded into sales and manufacture of bee goods, queen breeding, honey production, and honey packing. Currently employing 8 part-time staff.

Elizabeth Frost

Elizabeth Frost is ‘Technical Specialist – Bees’ with the NSW Dept. of Primary Industries. Frost co-manages Australia’s National Honey Bee Genetic Improvement Program (Plan Bee) with Dr. Nadine Chapman of University of Sydney, University of New England’s Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit, Better Bees WA, the Wheen Bee Foundation and beekeeping and horticulture industry stakeholders. Plan Bee partners are core CRC Pollination Security bid members. Frost also provides technical expertise to the beekeeping industry, government, media and the public and teaches queen bee artificial insemination courses through Registered Training Organisation Tocal Agricultural College.

Ken Gell

Hi there, Ken Gell, is my name and I am presently your Resources Chairman

I am a 4th generation beekeeper that owns and runs our family operation with my son Steven. Resources plays a very import role in our industry this is why we all should play an active part in representing our views to the public lands managers when possible. As chair of this valuable committee, we focus on all access to public lands across the entire state, trying to keep both beekeepers and the public lands managers accountable to issues that may arise in a calm and professional manner.

Bianca Giggins

Varroa Coordinator AHBIC

Bianca is incredibly passionate about agriculture, environment and furthering the Australian honey bee industry. She is competent and self-motivated with extensive experience in business administration, operations coordination, and the provision of strategic support to senior stakeholders, peers and broader teams. An agricultural upbringing, beekeeper for the last 10 years, most recently employed by NSW DPI in two roles, as Honey Bee Training Coordinator the other in Biosecurity as Surveillance Coordinator Varroa Program.

Bianca is a passionate and accomplished professional and beekeeper, committed to effective and productive relationship building for positive industry outcomes.

Bianca believes the Varroa incursion is a big challenge and a complex problem which requires professional, determined and courageous leadership to overcome. As Varroa Coordinator Bianca will play an important role to support the AHBIC in protecting and leading the future of the Australian honey bee industry.

Nikki Jones

Nikki started working with Agriculture Victoria in 2017 and recently taken the role of Biosecurity Manager- Apiary. She has been heavily involved in the delivery of the Victorian component of the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program and also performs regulatory work around endemic diseases, especially at pollination events. She was involved in the response to a detection of Varroa destructor at the Port of Melbourne in 2018, and again in response to the detection in Newcastle last year. Nikki is a recreational beekeeper in central Victoria. She holds a degree in Environmental Science and is a member of the Plant Surveillance Network Australia-Pacific.

Adam Maxwell

Adam Maxwell is an experienced biosecurity officer originally from the plant biosecurity space. He currently manages the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program and the National Residue Survey program for Agriculture Victoria. He has a background in Environmental Science and is a keen hobby beekeeper.

Jason Marshall

Jason has successfully kept bees in New Zealand on a commercial scale for the past 17 years, He is the owner and founder of SJA Honey based 1 hour north of Auckland and spread across the Kaipara District with over 4000 production Hives plus a 3000 unit queen raising division. Bulk Manuka and Bush Honey producer, Pollinator, local Bee Supplier and Bee Exporter

The business employs 14 full-time staff plus seasonal workers over the busy times.

Gary Paterson

Manager of Food, Fibre and Animal Industries, Melbourne Polytechnic

Gary’s industry portfolio at Melbourne Polytechnic extends across multiple disciplines from hospitality to agriculture, conservation to horticulture, animal studies to equine and Landscaping to Floristry. These departments are located across 8 different campuses in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

Gary has worked within TAFE for over 20 years and has been active within the hospitality industry for much of his career. He has a particular interest in future focussed programs and investigating synergies between like-minded industries.

Stephen Targett

Stephen was raised on a dairy farm in the Bega Valley. After a 23-year career in the army, began his journey in bees in 1995 starting with 12 hives. As his knowledge of bees increased he joined the Crop Pollination Association and ultimately was on the executive as treasurer and secretary for over six years.

During 2005 he moved his bee business to Narrandera NSW. He ran 280 hives and did almond, apple and cherry pollination as well as honey sales. Ultimately he ran 450 hives and concentrated on honey production along with almond and cherry pollination. In 2015 he joined the executive of the NSW Apiarist Association. In 2018 he became Vice President and then in 2019 became the President for two years. His presidency started with severe drought followed by bushfires and then floods and COVID. He was the head of the NSWAA team that helped secure the NSW Bushfire Industry Recovery Package $2 million grant monies.

In 2021 Stephen sold his apiary business and in his retirement moved from Narrandera to Merimbula NSW where he still maintains 12 hives.

In 2022 he became the chair of AHBIC 10 days before varroa was detected in NSW. Retirement is a loose word given the workload of AHBIC, dealing with the varroa incursion and the varroa response.

Karla Williams

Karla Williams is our new Agriculture Victoria Leading Biosecurity Officer and brings significant experience to the role from more than 9 years as a Senior Apiary Officer in Tasmania.

Copyright © The Victorian Apiarists' Association.
Phone: 0498 461 460
PO Box 721, Woodend, VIC 3442

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