Riverine Plains is overseen by a voluntary board of Member Directors and Independent Directors that meet monthly.
Fiona Marshall (Chair)
Fiona farms with her husband Craig in the Rennie area, north of Mulwala. They are broadacre, dryland grain growers also operating a prime lamb enterprise. They have been farming together for 26 years and hope their children will be fourth generation farmers in this area.
Fiona is a life-long learner with a background in applied science and education. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the NFF Diversity in Ag Leadership Program and the Grains Social Leadership Program. Fiona has served on the GRDC Southern Panel and is passionate about building capacity within the grains industry from the laboratory to the farm, to the end user and all in between.
Fiona strives to improve the profile and profitability of Australian agriculture with a particular focus on women in the industry.
Melissa Brown (Deputy Chair)
Melissa Brown has been a committee member since 2018 and is one of the inaugural Member directors of Riverine Plains.
She is a partner in a family run mixed farming business, Moorilim Pastoral Company, based near Murchison, Victoria. Melissa is currently employed by BASF Agricultural Solutions as the Technical Development Manager for Broadacre crops and has extensive field trial experience and understanding of agronomic systems across Australia.
Melissa has a Bachelor of Agriculture from Dookie College and is an Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Alumni. She is passionate about improving her community and promoting agriculture as a career pathway for the next generation.
Ian Trevethan (Secretary)
Ian returned to the family property in 2006 and is now running the farm with his brother. The Trevethan property is a mixed farm with dryland and irrigated crops, along with a self-replacing merino sheep enterprise.
Ian Studied Ag Science at the University of Melbourne Dookie Campus. Post studies he worked for a period as a retail agronomist with Nutrien Ag Solutions in Albury. Ian served on the GRDC SNSW Regional Cropping Solutions network for 2 years and has been involved with Riverine Plains Inc in varying capacities since 2012.
Murray Scholz (Treasurer)
Murray Scholz is the owner and manager of his family farming business producing grain, oilseeds, beef, and lamb in the Eastern Riverina. He has been a member of Riverine Plains for over 15 years.
Murray is an experienced Board Director with over 10 years of commercial and not for profit experience in strategic direction, financial management, corporate governance and communication strategy in commercial agricultural business, capacity building, and research. He has served as a director of Nuffield Australia, of Queensland Crop Research and Holbrook Landcare. He is currently a director of Regional Development Australia Murray Region and Riverine Plains Farming Systems Group. He sits on the NSW Rural Assistance Authority Disaster Assistance Grants Appeals Panel. He also sat on the Industry Advisory Panel of the Graham Centre (Charles Sturt University & NSW DPI) and GRDC Southern NSW Grower Network.
Murray is a nationally recognised innovator, and his experience in agriculture has led him to present at conferences in Canada, India, and Japan. In Australia he has presented at government, industry and university conferences including ABARES National Outlook Conference, Australian Farm Institute conferences, and GRDC updates.
Murray is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and completed The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP Texas A&M).
Ryan Berndt (Public Officer)
Ryan Berndt has joined the Board of Riverine Plains as of October 2022.
Ryan farms with his wife Stephanie in the Strathmerton Vic area and also have a property in Southern NSW. They are irrigated and dryland winter crop growers with the main crops being wheat, barley and Canola. They also trade sheep. Ryan and Stephanie are first generation farmers having purchased their first block 10 years ago.
Prior to returning home to the farm in 2022, Ryan spent 18 years in corporate Agribusiness. He has held numerous roles from Agronomy to National Fertiliser Management with Elders, Hi Fert, Impact, Viterra, Ruralco and Nutrien.
Alison has extensive experience in issues management, reputational risk, stakeholder engagement, policy development and communications.
Alison’s expertise has seen her work in a variety of influential roles in government and opposition, the corporate sector and representing industry. She was the CEO of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council from 2012 to 2016, Government Relations Manager for the Woolworths Group and most recently Chief of Staff to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon David Littleproud MP.
Alison currently works with a company that helps global and ASX100 companies, industries and organisations to address their most pressing challenges and earn a social licence to operate.
Brondwen MacLean is a Director of Pivotal Management Consulting. Until her retirement in July 2019 she was General Manager of Research Programs at the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and in all had spent over 20 years at GRDC in various parts of the business, including Senior Manager of Breeding Programs.
Brondwen served as Executive Manager on all three of GRDC’s Regional Panels. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has been a mentor is several programs including NFF’s Diversity in Agricultural Leadership Program. Since retiring Brondwen has consulted for the CRC for Developing Northern Australia, undertaken company governance and structural reviews, for both the public and private sector and has assisted AgriFutures Australia (AgriFutures) in their establishment of the growAG platform and more broadly across the business. Brondwen was an interim Director for Rice Breeding Australia, a newly established company focussed on delivering better (focus on water use efficiency) rice varieties for Australian growers. Currently Brondwen is undertaking a number of consultancies in areas of biosecurity, governance and structural reforms.