ADF National Council
The Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF)’s National Council plays a crucial role providing input to ADF’s strategic direction and policy focus areas.
The National Council is responsible for developing policy for the ADF Board’s consideration and advising the Board of opportunities to improve the implementation of the ADF Strategic Plan. The National Council is a larger body that also keeps the ADF Board informed of member issues.
The National Council also oversees the Policy Advisory Groups (PAGs), providing valuable insight and support on new and emerging issues amongst the five PAG areas.
Terry RichardsonActing Chair
Terry Richardson operates a dairy farm with his family in Deans Marsh, South West Victoria, where he has lived since 2004. The farm has seasonal calving pattern and milks 600 cows.
Terry was appointed acting President in December 2016, and as an ADF Business Director in November 2015.
Terry has held a number of positions in the dairy industry, both in New Zealand and Australia. He was a director of Kiwi Co-operative Dairies for seven years and a dairy consultant with Agriculture New Zealand for seven years. After moving to Australia he joined his local UDV branch and was later appointed to the South West Regional Extension Committee. He was previously Chairman of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Company and was a director of the company for eight years. Terry has also served on many community boards and committees.
Terry completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics, a Diploma of Business Studies, and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Adam Jenkins is a south west Victorian dairy farmer from South Purrumbete. Operating the 250 cow farm with his wife and four children, Adam is a first generation dairy farmer who has been involved in the rural industry for 20 years with roles in rural finance, extension and education.
Recently appointed as President of the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV), Adam is also a Victorian Policy Councillor for Corangamite Region Nine and a representative on the South West Regional Extension Committee.
Also an active representative of the ADF’s Markets, Trade and Value Chain Policy Advisory Group. In 2014, Adam was a dairy industry representative on the Victorian Trade Mission to China with The Geoffrey Gardiner Foundation.
Adam is a 2011 Nuffield Scholar and has a Bachelor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and a Graduate Diploma in Education. He has also completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course and served as a Director on the Bonlac Supply Company Board from 2007-2013.
Adam completed Dairy Australia’s ‘Advance in Dairy Leadership’ program in conjunction with the Bonlac Supply Company leadership development program in 2007.
Andrew Lester is a third-generation dairy farmer from Herrick, north east Tasmania. As Chair of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association’s (TFGA) Dairy Council and a representative on the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) National Council, Andrew is a strong advocate for creating long-term sustainable farming enterprises for younger generations.
Operating the dairy farm with his wife, Angela and their two children, the Lesters milk 420 cows and have recently invested in irrigation water as a value-adding asset to secure the long-term viability of their farm. Andrew is also a member of the Winnaleah Irrigation Scheme Board.
As Chair of TFGA’s Animal Health and Welfare Action Group and a member of ADF’s Animal Health and Welfare Policy Advisory Group, Andrew is passionate about highlighting the importance of good animal husbandry – not only in dairy, but across all farming environments.
Brian Tessmann is a Queensland dairy farmer from the South Burnett area. Jointly running the family operation with his brother, the farm has been in the Tessmann family for four generations and milks 150 cows.
Brian has a long history with the Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation (QDO). Since being appointed as District Secretary in 1995, he was then elected to the QDO Board and State Council in 2000 and in 2003 became the Vice President.
Brian has been President of QDO since 2009, as well as a Director on the ADF Board and National Council. Over this period, Brian has also held various roles at both state and national levels.
Brian is passionate about the northern dairy industry and hopes to drive improved opportunities for farmers in the region. Brian is married to Dixie with two sons, Carl and Eric.
Damian Murphy along with his wife Trudy and three boys milk 280 cows at Dumbalk North in South Gippsland.
Since returning to the family farm in 2000 Damian has progressed from employee through to sharefarmer and now into ownership as part of a succession plan that has all parties involved happy with the result. During this time Damian has improved his skills as a farmer and business manager which resulted in gaining an Advanced Diploma in Agriculture and completing the Rabobank Executive Development Program.
In 2012 Damian was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship with a study topic of “Young Farmer Finance Schemes” which allowed him to travel overseas for 18 weeks investigating finance and tax systems that help young and beginning farmer’s progress in Agriculture. Since completing the scholarship Damian has become active in the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria as a member of the Policy Council and secretary for the South Gippsland branch of the Victorian Farmers Federation.
Damian is a strong advocate for young and beginning farmers in all agricultural commodities.
Daryl Hoey is a fourth-generation dairy farmer from Katunga, northern Victoria. Running the full-time family operation, the Hoey’s farm milks 300 cows on 140 hectares of land.
Daryl is a representative of the Australian Dairy Farmers’ (ADF) National Council and Chair of the Murrary Darling Basin Task Force. Since 2006, Daryl has also been policy Councillor for the United Dairfarmers of Victoria (UDV) District Council Three.
As an active member of ADF’s Natural Resources Policy Advisory Group (PAG), Daryl is passionate about securing a sustainable environment which is critical for the industry’s viability and community recognition. Daryl is also a member of the Farming Systems and Herd Improvement PAG, and has a keen interest in genetics and understanding farming systems.
Daryl was a Director of the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme and was a former long-serving Director on the Murray Dairy Board.
Erika Chesworth, along with her husband of 26 years, Steve Chesworth is descendant from a long line of dairy farmers. With their three children Duncan, Campbell and Emma, the Chesworth’s have carried on this tradition.
The current Chair of the NSWFarmers Dairy Committee, Erika became involved in advocacy activities off-farm to help address challenges across the industry and has particular interest in continuously improving the care and well being of dairy's animals and people. Erika believes that good physical and mental health are essential to ensuring resilience and best practice across the value chain and is keen to see further industry investment in this critical area.
Ten years ago the Chesworth’s relocated from Upper Hunter Valley to Dubbo, in order to capitalise on the opportunities of inland farming which included developing relationships with local farmers to supply grains, hay and silage along with agistment.
The Chesworth’s produce around 8 million litres a year on their 630 acre Dubbo property which is fronted by the Macquarie River. The herd is, at 800 head, a big herd of milkers; but it's still run the way a smaller operation in Australian dairy is, by the family, and that's all the way down to feeding the calves.
In October 2013, Erika and her family started an on-farm processing plant, called The Little Big Dairy. The operation incorporates one of the most modern and technologically advanced milk harvesting systems in Australia, with the Chesworth’s guiding the product from start to finish.
Erika holds an advanced Diploma in Agriculture.
John Keely is a fifth-generation dairy farmer from Cohuna, Northern Victoria and an active Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) representative on the ADF National Council and Natural Resources Policy Advisory Group.
He is also the Regional Representative for DC1 (formerly District Council No.1) for the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria Policy Council.
John and his wife, Michelle manage their family run operation, alongside John’s father and son. The farm has been in the Keely Family’s name since 1874, spreading over 400 hectares of irrigated pastures and crops, and milking 340 predominantly Holstein cows in a split calving system.
Outside of farming, John’s interests include football as a passionate member of the Collingwood Football Club and a representative of his local Central Murray Football Netball League Board.
John Versteden is a dairy farmer from Gippsland, south-east Victorian and a recently appointed representative to the ADF National Council, elected to the position in 2015. John has a long history of industry involvement, including holding former leadership positions as Central Councillor of the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) and Director of Gippsdairy.
John is the current Chair of Dairy Australia’s Dairy Industry People Development Committee and played an instrumental role in the formation of the National Centre for Dairy Education Australia.
John, in partnership with his wife, Lyn, commenced farming at Longwarry in Gippsland after migrating from the construction industry. The Verstedens have since progressed through the various stages of share farming, leasing, and now ownership. John and Lyn have two adult daughters.
John holds a view that dairy farming has been and still is one of the most rewarding careers, both personally and financially, that people can choose to be involved in.
Michael Partridge is a fourth-generation dairy farmer from Brunswick, Western Australia. The “White Rocks Dairy” farm has been in the Partridge family for over 125 years, run by Michael and his wife, Leanne, alongside his parents and two children.
Milking 650 cows around the year, White Rocks Dairy also runs a multi-award winning "White Rocks Veal” operation. Michael has recently started another small dairy which will run alongside the existing farm.
Michael is a representative on the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) National Council and President of WA Farmers dairy section. He is also President of the Brunswick Agricultural Society.
As a strong advocate for innovation, Michael is a strong believer in agriculture being able to return value from the market back to farmers and thinks the industry needs to further embrace value-adding farming systems to improve the profitability and sustainability of farming in Australia.
Rob McIntosh operates a dairy farm at Berry on the south coast of NSW, with his wife Susan and family. The McIntosh’s milks 230 cows and supply to Murray Goulburn Milk Cooperative, also providing fresh milk to the Sydney market. They employ two apprentices to support the farm’s operation.
Rob has been involved in the dairy industry as NSW President and Federal Councillor of the registered Holstein Association. He has also served on the board of Genetics Australia, which led to managing Herd Improvers as a reselling business in NSW. Rob is the former Chair of the NSW Farmers Association Dairy Committee and a representative for NSW on the Australian Dairy Farmers’ National Council.
Rob‘s greatest claim to fame is being married to his wife, Susan and father to two girls and two boys.
John Hunt arrived in South Australia from New Zealand eight years ago with his family - and a dream of dairy farm ownership.