Cotton Australia appoints agriculture, policy experts

Friday, 20th December 2013 // Breaking News, Media Releases // Comments (0)

Cotton Australia has strengthened its team with the appointment of two specialists to its Toowoomba and Sydney offices.

Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay says Mary O’Brien has been appointed the organisation’s Regional Manager for the Darling Downs. Her role includes communicating important issues to growers, promoting policy initiatives and managing grower feedback, and extending best management practice support to cotton growers.

Ms O’Brien has a long history in agriculture. Born and raised in Bollon, west of St George in Queensland, she has worked as a jillaroo, seed analyst, laboratory technician and agricultural consultant.

She joins Cotton Australia from the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry  (DAFF - formerly Qld DPI), working in the regulatory role covering agricultural and veterinary chemical use. At DAFF she was first a district inspector in southern Queensland before taking up a state-wide role as Senior Scientist (Product Integrity), specialising in agricultural chemical use and spray application technology, including spray drift.

Ms O’Brien holds a Bachelor of Science (Plant Science) from the University of Southern Queensland, a Graduate Certificate in Cotton Production (University of New England) and is completing a Master of Science in Agriculture (UNE).

Her consulting company conducts spray application and drift management workshops throughout Queensland and NSW.

“Mary’s scientific knowledge and expertise is a welcome addition to the Cotton Australia team, and her extensive experience in agriculture means she will serve our cotton growers extremely well in the role of Regional Manager,” Mr Kay says.

Cotton Australia has also appointed Leah Ross to the role of Policy Officer, based in the organisation’s Sydney office.

Ms Ross works to formulate Cotton Australia’s policy and advocacy platforms, and liaises with stakeholders on key policy and research issues. Her focus at Cotton Australia is on the impact of energy and climate policy on the cotton industry, as well as workforce capacity and productivity. She replaces Angela Bradburn, who is currently on maternity leave.

Ms Ross joins Cotton Australia from the Australian Government, where she worked for the COAG Reform Council. Projects included work in the energy market, oil and gas industry, and occupational health and safety.

In previous policy roles she worked in departments covering energy and resources, climate change, the environment and water.

“Leah’s career in government has given her experience in policy areas that are extremely important to the cotton industry, including energy, oil and gas, climate change, the environment, water and OH&S,” Mr Kay says. “This experience, and her inside knowledge of government, makes her a valuable asset to our organisation and a great advocate for our growers.”

Cotton Australia is the peak representative body for Australia’s cotton growing industry.

Cotton Australia media contacts:

Adam Kay
CEO, Cotton Australia
0437 695 222


Chris Larsen
Communications Manager, Cotton Australia
0488 189 502


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