Fiona Hart leaves Riverine Plains with Life Membership

11 October, 2021

Word Count: 475


After 18 years of dedicated service, Riverine Plains have farewelled Chief Operating Officer, Fiona Hart, who is moving on from the organisation to pursue a new career opportunity.

In honour and recognition of the significant role Fiona has played within the organisation, and the community more broadly, Fiona has been awarded a Riverine Plains Life Membership – the first ever presented by the group.

Riverine Plains Chairman, Ian Trevethan, explained that Fiona Hart’s name has become inexorably linked with Riverine Plains and her departure marks the end of an era.

“I’d like to acknowledge and thank Fiona for the huge contribution she’s made to the organisation over such an extended length of time. Over the past 18 years, Fiona’s high personal morals and values have become embedded in the culture of Riverine Plains and are a big reason that the group enjoys the respect that it does” said Ian.

Riverine Plains was established in 1999 to improve the flow of agricultural research and other information across the southern NSW and north-east Victorian border region and Fiona was originally employed in 2003 to help manage the group’s activities and develop its scope as a farming systems group. As the group grew, so did her role, which evolved from Administrator, to Executive Officer and then to Chief Operating Officer.

Through Fiona’s leadership, along with the direction provided by successive committees and staff, Riverine Plains has developed into the organisation it is today. Fiona’s calm influence, her thoroughness and attention to detail has helped the group deliver innumerable field days, study tours, seminars, research and extension projects and skills-based courses over the years, as well as the establishment of a scholarship program to support local tertiary students in agriculture.

Fiona Hart said that she has thoroughly enjoyed her time with Riverine Plains as it is a unique organisation, with a rich history, wonderful people and a vibrant future.

“It would be impossible to thank everyone that I’ve worked with over the years, however I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the members, past committee members, current board members, staff, sponsors, researchers, project partners and associates with which I’ve had the honour of working” she said.

“I’d like to especially thank the group’s past Chairmen David Cook, Adam Inchbold, Andrew Russell, Evan Ryan, John Bruce and current Chairman, Ian Trevethan, for their leadership and contributions to the organisation. Riverine Plains has an exciting future ahead and I look forward to keeping in touch with the group’s successes” added Ms Hart.

Ian Trevethan said that Fiona’s gentle and caring nature will be greatly missed by the staff, the board, members and partners alike.

“I’d like to congratulate Fiona on her new role with the CFA and look forward to her ongoing involvement in the group through her Life Membership” concluded Ian.


Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit

More information or interview: Ian Trevethan, Chairman, Riverine Plains 0409 520 725.


Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting, 7 February 2019

Riverine Plains Inc will host Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting on Thursday February 7, 2019. This event continues the tradition begun by the late John Sykes and is an opportunity for local farmers to discuss the 2018 season results as well as the challenges likely to arise in the season ahead.

The Buraja meeting will involve a post-harvest debrief, presentations on new varieties, market updates and key issues for the coming season, which together provide an important planning opportunity for the 2019 grain growing season.

The dry conditions and severe frosts experienced during 2018 created a unique set of  circumstances and the Buraja meeting also provides an opportunity for farmers to share and reflect on these experiences.

Chris Minehan from Rural Management Strategies will facilitate a harvest debrief session, which will involve discussions around any likely flow-on effects for 2019, as well as other issues for 2019.

Using results from the local National Variety Trials (NVT) and the Riverine Research Centre at Yarrawonga, Michael Straight from FAR Australia will speak on regional wheat variety performance and options for planting in autumn 2019.

Chris (Desi) Toohey from Elders will also talk about the performance of new canola varieties, while David Burch from NSW DPI will talk about barley varieties. Local farmer Beau Longmire will also give a presentation on managing subsoil constraints in sandy soils and Richard Hall from Market Check will provide a grain marketing update.

Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting will be held on Thursday 7 February, 2019 at the Buraja Recreational Ground Hall, from 9am – 12:30pm. This event is free to attend and all are welcome. A BBQ lunch will be provided afterwards and no RSVP is necessary.

For more information please download the 2019 Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting Flyer or contact Fiona Hart at or phone (03) 5744 1713.