Philip Hawker has worked as an Agronomist for over 25 years both in Western Australia and Victoria. He has held various industry roles, the last being the Manager of the Victorian and Southern NSW Elders Agronomy team from 2000 to 2005. Philip has an Honours Degree in Agricultural Science from the University of WA and is a graduate of the Williamson Community Leadership Program. He lives with his family at Beaufort on a property which they farm. Philip is the Business Manager – Agronomy & Client Services for Western AG.
0418 529 699
Ashley Miller has an Agricultural Degree and an extensive career in private enterprise. He is a current board member of AgLink, and previously a board member of both the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia (AAAA) and the Victorian Agricultural Chemical Advisory Committee (VACAC). He has worked as an agricultural pilot and company manager for 25 years both in the Western District and Wimmera regions in Victoria. Ashley is the Business Manager – Operations for Western AG.
Meet Our Agronomists
Derrinallum / Skipton
Gerard O’Brien obtained an Applied Science (Ag) Degree from VCAH Dookie in 1990. He has worked on several broadacre mixed farms in the Western District before commencing as an Agronomist firstly in Ballarat in 1998 and then later at Skipton. He commenced employment at the inception of Western AG and continues to provide agronomic services to a loyal client base. He has a keen personal interest in pastures and livestock, as well as his passion for broadacre crops.
Derrinallum / Bannockburn / Willaura
James Jess completed a Bachelor of Science (Ag) at Melbourne University (Dookie) before commencing with the Birchip Cropping Group (BCG). Over three years, as a technical officer and field agronomist, James conducted field trials involving barley agronomy, resistance management, nitrogen and fungicide management, as well as various trials in precision agriculture. James has been a Western Ag Agronomist since August 2009 working in the Skipton, Derrinallum, Willaura, Cressy and Bannockburn areas.
Bannockburn / Cressy
Trudy previously worked for the agronomic service provider, Agvise, in the area since 2010. Prior to this, she worked for The Lentil Company (TLC) and IAMA in the Wimmera. She has over 15 years experience in the agricultural industry and completed a Diploma in Applied Sciences (Ag Services) at Longerenong College. Trudy works from our Bannockburn branch and provides agronomic services mostly under a fee for service (F4S) arrangement for AgInvest Management, a company associated with Western AG.
David joined our Agronomy team and is based from our Ballarat Branch. He comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience, primarily specialising in the Potato segment. For many years David worked for McCain’s, has spent significant time in the local rural sector and, more recently, branched into his own consultancy business. David is an extremely well-respected individual in the agricultural industry and returns to rural retail with Western AG to concentrate not only on maintaining the consultancy business with his horticultural clients but developing all clients with their pasture and cropping systems.
Horsham / Goroke
Sam grew up on the family farm at Gymbowen in the West Wimmera and worked extensively for seven years as a farmhand for several large farming operations concentrating in Broadacre cropping. Prior to this, he spent three years working as an accountant for a Horsham accounting firm. Sam joined the Horsham Branch initially in a Merchandise Sales role but has now transitioned to a full time Agronomy position. Sam has a wide range of knowledge in the progressive broadacre farming industry and lives in Horsham with his wife Chloe and young daughter Leni.
Bannockburn / Cressy
Ashley Perkins has over 20 years experience as an agronomist. Ashley started at Jeparit in the Southern Mallee in 1990, before moving to Inverleigh in the Western District in 1997. He has vast experience with raised bed and broadacre cropping, pasture renovation including lucerne in the Western District. He lives at Bannockburn with his wife and two children.
Horsham / Nhill / Goroke
Matt Witney has worked for the last five years from Horsham as a private agronomist and consults with farmers across the Wimmera and Mallee. Prior to this, Matt has held a number of positions including farm management with the Warakirri Group and has more than 20 years experience with minimal tillage farming systems. Matt has a Diploma of Agriculture (Rural Business Management), and a passion for crop nutrition and no till farming systems.
Horsham / Nhill
Nick Zordan recently completed a Diploma of Agronomy from Longerenong Ag College and will be based at Horsham. Nick has held Farm Manager and Farm Hand positions in the Wimmera/Mallee since 2007, plus he has worked in the UK harvesting broadacre crops. His experience includes cereals, pulses and canola and he has worked for a number of leading farming businesses. Nick’s interests are wide and include photography, travel, music and camping.
Ballarat / Skipton
Lachie worked as a Landmark Agronomist for three years at Urana working predominately in dryland crop and pasture production systems, including canola, cereals and pulses. Prior to this placement, he worked for two years in merchandise at Skipton and a period in Canada in a construction role. Lachie holds a Bachelor of Agriculture from Melbourne University, Parkville Campus, and a Diploma in Agronomy. Lachie grew up on a grazing and viticultural property at Avenel, near Euroa, in Victoria. He is married to Denise and they have a four-month-old baby girl. He is a keen footballer, enjoys general fitness activities and is a proud Essendon supporter.
Nathan started his career in agriculture with a local Bordertown retailer in 2007 immediately from high school. He completed a Degree in Agriculture from Charles Sturt University by distance education part time whilst working and graduated in 2013. His development initially covered local trial work and he progressed to full time agronomy work in 2011. Nathan grew up on a family farm in the Pine Hill area, 20ks NE of Bordertown. His interests outside of work include family, football, cricket and golf which he plays locally. Nathan provides sports coverage on local radio on Saturday mornings and is a keen Carlton supporter.
Horsham / Nhill
Tim Hofmaier works as an Agronomist at the Western AG Horsham branch. He has a Diploma of Applied Science (Ag) and has over 10 years experience in the agricultural sector. He started his career in Naracoorte, before moving back to further his knowledge in broadacre cropping in the Wimmera. Tim currently looks after a client base throughout the Victorian Wimmera and Mallee regions and particularly enjoys working with farmers on a day to day basis.
Hamilton / Willaura / Horsham
Matthew Barber was raised in the Glenisla region between Horsham and Hamilton in Victoria, where he now lives with his wife and their small farm enterprise. He has been an agronomist for last 9 years in the North East, Southern Riverina & Western District of Victoria. Matthew has completed an Advanced Diploma in Agriculture at Longerenong College and has a passion for broadacre cropping, pasture production and summer crops.
Brendan originates from Mathoura in southern NSW where his family has dairying and broadacre cropping interests. Since completing a Bachelor of Ag Science at La Trobe University, Brendan has worked as a crop and pasture agronomist in the Skipton area for the last 3 years. Brendan is a keen footballer, currently playing for the Ballarat Football Netball Club, and enjoys all activities found at community sporting clubs. Brendan resides in Ballarat and will service existing and new Ballarat and Derrinallum clients.
Nhill / Kaniva
Darcy completed a Bachelor of Science with first class honours from Melbourne University in 2015 majoring in plant science. Darcy was raised on a grazing property at Avenel in central Victoria where he worked since graduating. The combination of his area of study and work has provided him with a high level of theoretical and practical knowledge within grazing systems and fast track development in the Broadacre Cropping systems. Darcy brings a broad skill set to Western AG, is brother of Ballarat based Agronomist Lachlan Bullen and is a keen Essendon supporter.
Bordertown / Keith
Nat completed her Honours Degree in Agricultural Science at the University of Adelaide and after graduating worked for a short time for CRT in Keith. She then joined a local Bordertown business as an agronomist where she worked for nearly 20 years. Nat lives in Keith and her clientele is predominately between Keith and Bordertown. With family members, she also manages a mixed farm near Keith grazing merino sheep, cattle plus growing crops for stock feed. Nat’s interests include endurance cycling, walking, running and hiking. She plans to climb the highest peak in each state of Australia and is our first Adelaide Crows supporter.
Finance & Administration
Paul Barker is the company Finance Manager, a role that involves all financial aspects across the Western AG business. He has a Commerce Degree and is a Fellow of the National Institute of Accountants. Prior to joining Western AG, he has held Finance Manager positions in private organisations in the Western District for 10 years and also worked for a Chartered Accounting firm in Warrnambool for 5 years.
Jacky Polack has replaced Robina Flack at our Horsham Branch as an Administration Officer. Jacky and her husband farm at Katyil North of Horsham and Jacky has a high level of agribusiness experience working in administration and merchandise sales positions previously with IAMA and Landmark both at Horsham and Warracknabeal. Jacky has two primary school aged sons and her interests outside of work include dressage horse competition.
Christine O’Flaherty joined Western Ag in 2015 as a member of the Finance and Administration team. Her work involves accounts, invoicing, data entry and customer service. Christine is originally from south west Victoria and has returned home after 16 years in Queensland. She holds a degree in Commerce and has extensive experience in the banking sector and also worked in the Finance Department of Queensland Treasury.
Judy Miller is also a member of the Finance and Administration team. Her work activities are mainly involved with Accounts Receivable (A/R) and fiscal audit. She has worked extensively in private enterprise and brings over 40 years of account and finance management experience to the group.
Branch & Merchandise Managers
0419 801 583
Brad Everett has a local farming family background and has worked within the agricultural retail Industry for the past 17 years after starting out in an aircraft support role for Western Aerial. He is well known throughout the Western District by both farmers and key Suppliers to the business. He has held the role of Merchandise Manager since the company began operations in 2005 and his main responsibility now is the Western AG Derrinallum Branch Manager.
0428 236 966
Pat has been employed in the agricultural industry for over 25 years, with the majority of this time selling all types of rural merchandise to wholesalers and retail clients. He has held various roles with Corporate Ag companies since the early nineties, including Merchandise Manager, State Inventory Manager and a Regional Merchandise Manager role. He has a great understanding of the local area and has been providing advice on animal health and general merchandise for a number of years.
0447 166 278
Danny has lived in Kaniva since 1989 and was previously employed with Elders in Kaniva for over seven years, prior to this he worked on a broadacre cropping farm and as a shed builder. Danny’s interests include cycling and AFL having previously played for Kaniva Leeor United Football Club, he has continued to support the club as a past committee member and currently runs for the A grade team. Danny is married with two daughters aged seven and five.
0429 609 666
Mark started as the Branch Manager for Western AG when the company began operations in Hamilton in 2018. He has an Advanced Diploma in Ag (Dookie College) and has been involved in the agricultural industry for 18 years with Stephen Pasture Seeds and PGG Wrightson Seeds in agronomy, sales and operations. Mark lives in Dunkeld with his wife Connie and their three children.
0488 233 436
Mark Hoffmann comes from a rural background and has worked in the agricultural retail industry for 15 years after starting out his career as a product salesman. He is well known throughout the Wimmera and has worked in Horsham as the Merchandise Manager for several agricultural companies before taking a position as Branch Manager for Western AG when the company began operations in Horsham in April, 2010.
Gary Hall 0429 433 122
Gary has spent his whole life in the Nhill area and has worked previously for Lowan Whole Foods. He has been with Graincorp since 2006, in the role of Grain Services Manager, and was responsible for operations at Nhill, Kaniva, Lillimur and surrounding sites. Gary has a high level of expertise and experience in local farming. His attention to detail and commitment to follow up and solve farmer’s issues are of immense benefit to local growers.
0438 397 544
Karl Drever has been involved in the agricultural industry for over 22 years. Being brought up on the land, Karl started in the industry with Stephen Pasture Seeds and, after 18 years there, ended up in a Sales Manager role with experience in all regions of Victoria and the South East of SA. The past 5 years has seen Karl work as a Pasture Specialist in the Ballarat Region. Karl brings a wealth of knowledge to Western Ag and is keen to build and continue lasting relationships with local growers from the new Ballarat Store.
0428 909 252
Aaron Starick grew up in the Wimmera and has been working in the agricultural industry for nearly 15 years, with most of that spent in the animal health and merchandise side of the business. After being in the Wimmera for 12 years, he made the move south to take up the role as merchandise and animal health specialist at our store in Derrinallum. Aaron has a wide range of farming knowledge which is essential to our business.
0458 441 115
Troy Kollegger has lived in the Bannockburn region all his life and has been employed in the agricultural industry for over 15 years. Troy has vast experience in Branch and Merchandise Management within the agricultural market where he really enjoys forming lasting business relationships with Suppliers and clients. Troy has broad agricultural product knowledge and specialises in animal health and general merchandise products.
0488 120 033
Leigh Walters is the Assistant Manager at our Horsham Branch and has an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture (Longerenong College). He has extensive knowledge and experience in the Horticulture area, particularly wine and table grapes and seasonal vegetable crops, after previously working in the Sunraysia area for 10 years. He assists Mark Hoffmann and the Horsham team to continually provide the very best service to our clients. Leigh lives in Horsham with his wife Rochelle and young family.
0427 619 670
Damien is a well-known Bordertown local who joined the agricultural sector in 2005. Prior to this he worked for a tarpaulin manufacturing business locally for 8 years. He is passionate about customer service and has a high level of expertise in Animal Health and General Merchandise products. He has all round knowledge being across both the crop protection and fertiliser range also. Outside of work, interests include basketball, skiing and all sports in general. Damien is married with three daughters and is a proud supporter of the Essendon football club.
Steven Booley is a local farmer from Inverleigh who has lived in the region for 40 years. He has a wealth of experience in growing irrigated and dry land lucerne and also produces quality prime lambs. Steven is a qualified plumber by trade, but prefers and enjoys working on his farming enterprise and contributing to Western AG.
Brian has spent his whole life in the Kewell area, North of Horsham and has 32 years experience in farming, which included both cropping and livestock operations. He has a strong practical agricultural background and is a member of the Wimmera Machinery Field Days committee. Brian has both a delivery and merchandise sales role, with a set weekly delivery schedule across the Horsham and Nhill Branches and the Kaniva and Goroke Service Centres.
Animal Health & General Merchandise Specialists
0409 741 427
Katrina Ridgway has been involved in the rural industry for the past 23 years and started her working career in the rural industry with on-farm bookkeeping, before taking on a livestock secretarial role for a local Tasmanian meat processer. After taking a short break to start a family, she recommenced her career working in rural merchandise and sales for TP Jones in Tasmania. Katrina is excited to become a member of the Western AG team at the new Ballarat store and looks forward to meeting clients and assisting in anyway possible.
0437 811 661
Raquel grew up in the Western District and Wimmera and has a strong practical agricultural background including working on farm and operating her own livestock pregnancy scanning business. Raquel is part of the animal health and merchandise team at Western AG, based in Horsham, and enjoys working with producers to achieve the best possible results from livestock production. Raquel lives in Laharum, with her 3 children, and is a regular competitor in Stockman’s Challenges and Campdrafting competitions.
0438 874 587
Geordie Elliott is from Breakaway Creek in SW Victoria. After studying beef and sheep production at Longreach Pastoral College in QLD, Geordie has worked in a multitude of sectors of the livestock industry. He has held various roles in commercial, stud and feedlot operations throughout the entire East Coast of Australia. More recently, Geordie held a Territory Management role for a livestock supplements company managing all aspects of ruminant nutrition within grazing systems. Geordie has won several scholarships and attended study tours of the cattle and sheep industries in North America and the United Kingdom. In his free time, Geordie, and his partner Crystal, run the Corumbene Brangus and Prairie Falls Murray Grey studs on their farm “Oak Park” in SW Victoria.
0458 781 021
Janette has lived in the SE of South Australia all her life and currently resides in Kingston SE with her husband Joe. Janette has over 18 years’ experience within the agricultural industry including 12 years within the Animal Health and Rural Merchandise segments. Janette has held various positions with Resellers including Merchandise Management and Sales and, more recently, Animal Health technical roles. She has a sound knowledge and a very strong passion for increasing client’s profitability through better animal health and nutrition practices.
0427 811 636
Brad and Tanya Haslett run a successful fertiliser spreading business called The Spreading Edge. Over the past 15 years, they built an honest and progressive business catering for the local Willaura community and beyond. In 2006, after earlier establishing the fertiliser facility on the Moyston - Willaura Rd, Brad formed an alliance with Western AG to assist in the supply of fertiliser in the area. The Willaura Service Centre now provides clients with the entire range of farm inputs and is a key asset to the Willaura farming region.
Andrew and Michelle Dodson from Shetty’s Supplies, a local Goroke business, are agents for Western AG. Like all stores, Goroke will be stocking the full range of farming inputs. Michelle and Andrew are well known in the Goroke area as the local suppliers of fuel and oils. They are very active in the community, having previously managed the local hotel. Michelle has a strong interest in horses and Andrew is active in Apex and the CFA locally.