Ben Dowling A seed grower Board member (Deputy Chair)
Ben operates a seed potato business in the Mt Gambier region of South Australia. He has hands on experience in all aspects of seed potato production from tissue culture, minitubers, to certified seed. Ben is involved in potato variety improvement from variety selection and import, through replicated small plot trials to bulk plantings. Ben strongly believes in the benefits of quality seed, seed certification, and the application of good science and technology for progressing the potato industry.
Qualifications: BAppSc (Applied Biology)
Charlie Martel A skills-based Board member
Charlie has been a corporate and commercial solicitor for over 20 years, prior to which he worked on his family's sheep and wheat property in the Central West of NSW. Having a passion for agriculture, for the most part of Charlie's legal career, he has focussed on advising clients in the agribusiness sector. Charlie also advises clients engaged in energy and resources, hospitality and gaming, aviation and property. Charlie was a partner at CridlandsMB, at the time the largest law firm in the Northern Territory, before moving to Victoria in 2012. Charlie continues to provide legal services to his clients in the Northern Territory as well as operating a beef cattle enterprise in West Gippsland with his young family.
Qualifications: BEcon and LLB
Sam Montano. A seed grower Board member
Sam Montano is a fourth generation farmer and passionate seed potato grower. Sam aims to ensure that the AuSPICA seed potato scheme is at the highest possible standard in Australia and has aspirations to develop plans for future disease incursions to ensure minimal impact to the industry if these issues do arise. Sam has experience with various community organisations including holding the presidency role for the Dean and Newlyn Young Farmers Association for several years.
Chris Willis A skills-based Board member
Chris is a senior manager with a major Australian agribusiness retailer and a big part of his tenue he has overseen the seed potatoes portfolio. Chris brings both commercial and agronomy knowledge from broadacre to horticultural crops grown across Australia. He has experience across a number of seed production systems from open pollinated to hybrid seed. From a family farming background, he is passionate about agriculture and strives to ensure it continually improves so that it can be profitable now and for future generations.
Qualifications: BAgrSc (Hons) and MBA
Ken Labbett (Seed Grower – Director)
A Certified seed grower at Ballarat, Ken has had a long history with his involvement in on-farm research trials on new cultivars and disease management. Ken is an industry leader through his previous involvement in many committees including SPV, HAL Industry Advisory Committee and many others.