Our Board

WestVic Dairy is run by a Board of Directors. The Board is made up of six farmers and two industry service providers who meet eight times per year The role of the Board is to ensure that the levies collected from the region's dairy farmers are directed to relevant research and development and that the findings are communicated to all dairy farmers to increase the profitability and sustainability of the regions dairy industry.

Simone Renyard- Chair

Farmer Director

Harper KilpatrickSimone joined the industry with her husband, after meeting at university 21 years ago. 

She said she was very much a city girl prior to  coming back on the farm.

"I didn't realise all the wonderful paths the industry has to offer, before I became involved," she said.

Simone has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology. She has always worked off farm, while also looking after the HR side of the farm business, as well as the young stock and business structures.

“Nick and I run the business as a team,” she said.  “My real love is the people side.”

Mrs Renyard is involved in many different industry bodies, such as Dairy Australia and ADF and has focused on issues surrounding people on dairy farms.

Email Simone: srenyard@bigpond.com

Mark Billing - Vice ChairWestvic Dairy Board

Farmer  Director

Mark farms in partnership with his wife Sam on the family farm 5km west of Colac. He operates a dryland pasture based operation milking registered Holsteins. As a 4th generation dairy farmer, he has a passion for the dairy industry and wants to contribute to its ongoing success. In 1988, he completed his dairy apprenticeship on the family farm and was awarded the UDV Apprentice of the Year in that same year. Mark completed his Advanced Diploma of Farm Management with the Melbourne University at the Glenormiston campus and was a director of the Colac Herd Improvement board up until the merger that created HICO. He is also member of the Future Dairy steering committee, which is representing the industry, as well as overseeing research projects at Sydney University for the past 8 years. The Committee has had governance over many projects including major forage research and robotic milking systems. Currently, Marc is also sitting on a Dairy Australia committee investigating the use of PD (precision dairy) technologies in Australia and New Zealand; he is a Director of the Bonlac Supply Company and Chair of the Fonterra Supplier Forum.

Email Mark: mark.billing@bigpond.com

Rhonda Henry- TreasurerWestvic Dairy Board

Non-Farmer  Director

Agribusiness banker Rhonda Henry, filled the position of Non-farmer Director. Rhonda has been working in banking for 44 years with a particular focus on dairying over the last decade. She has been based in Warrnambool for all of her working life and Ms Henry is passionate about the region and its farmers. Throughout her career she has had a number of customer service roles, as well as various lending and administration jobs.

She said one of the main reasons she joined the WestVic Dairy Board was because she wanted to give back to the industry and wants to do her bit to help create a sustainable and profitable dairy industry.

Email Rhonda: mhenryrd57@gmail.com

Dr Gemma Chuck

Non-Farmer DirectorWestvic Dairy Board

Dr Gemma Chuck graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree from The Royal Veterinary College in London, UK, in June 2006. She worked briefly in the South West of England in a mixed practice clinic before moving to Australia in January 2007. She settled in Far North Queensland on the Atherton Tablelands with her husband Jason. Here she worked for Tableland Veterinary Service where she initially developed her skills in mixed practice and more latterly with an emphasis in dairy. The clinic had an affiliation with James Cook University in Townsville and Gemma was appointed Adjunct Lecturer in 2009. She was responsible for the practical teaching of dairy cattle medicine and surgery for veterinary undergraduates. 

In November 2010, Gemma was appointed as one of three Dairy Residents at the University of Melbourne.  Gemma fulfilled this role at The Vet Group in Timboon, Victoria. Her job comprised teaching of undergraduate students on farm and in the classroom, along with clinical dairy work and the undertaking of a Masters of Veterinary Science research project. The original project investigated how practical changes to colostrum management can affect morbidity, mortality and live weight gain on dairy farms in South West Victoria.  She completed her Residency in February 2013 at which time she converted her Masters into a PhD project. The project has now been expanded to determine the long term benefits of optimal calf management in South West Victorian dairy herds. Gemma enjoys working with dairy farmers to improve calf health and hopes that the work achieved by her research will help the industry as a whole.

Aside from work, Gemma enjoys walking her dogs with her husband, horse riding, photography, cooking, gardening and rearing her own calves and heifers.

Email Gemma: gemma.chuck@apiam.com.au

Tania LuckinWestvic Dairy Board

Farmer Director

Tania’s dairy farming career began in 1997 when she and her husband Stephen moved from New Zealand to Naringal. In the 19 years they have been farming in Australia they have owned and operated a number of dairy farms of varying size and farming systems in both south west Victoria and South Australia.They currently operate a 500 cow dairy farm in Heywood.

Tania has always been actively involved in the industry on numerous levels, including Target 10 SW committee, SW Regional Extension Committee, various industry steering committees and most recently a director with Bonlac Supply Company. Currently, she is the facilitator for two local discussion groups and is a member of various industry body working groups.

In 2012, Tania completed an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture and is currently completing a Bachelor of Agribusiness Management at Charles Sturt University. Tania believes that dairy is a dynamic industry to be involved in with a bright future ahead. She feels honoured to have been selected for the WestVic Dairy board.

“I have a sincere desire to see our industry succeed in developing profitable, productive and sustainable farmers”. 

Email Tania: luckin@bigpond.com

Michael HawkerWestvic Dairy Board

Farmer Director

Michael was born on the family dairy farm and started supervising milking from the baby capsule strapped to the wall of the dairy. By 4 years old he moved up to droving the herd and by 8 years old he was driving the tractor feeding out and raking silage. Throughout school he milked four nights a week and completed an apprentice as a motor mechanic whilst still working on the home farm. Michael has been heavily involved in the YDDP and YDN and gained a lot of experience from this. He is currently managing the family farm at Heywood, milking 600 cows on 400ha. He joined the WestVic Dairy board to deliver the views and guidance of local farmers in the industry and give back to an industry that he is very passionate about. Michael hopes that he will also be able to provide youthful and innovative views and represent the young farmers in the Western Victorian Region.

Email Michael: hawker_123@hotmail.com

Jacqueline SuaresWestvic Dairy Board

Farmer Director

Larpent dairy farmer Jacqueline Suares entered the industry after marrying a 4th generation dairy farmer 40 years ago. The family milks 170 cows on approximately 320 acres. Despite working off farm, her connection with the industry has always been strong. She retired from her position as CEO of a community service organisation not long ago and said she realised that she wanted to do something to stay active and give back to the community.

“Joining the WestVic Dairy Board seemed like the perfect way to do just that,” she said.

Ms Suares said the industry was in a state of constant change and her goal was to help farmers better manage their businesses in order to adjust to the changes.

“My biggest passion is people and I want to help farmers to adapt to the rapid changes that have become the new norm in our industry”.

Email Jacquie: calderbrae2@bigpond.com

Matthew GlennenWestvic Dairy Board

Farmer Director

Matthew works on the family’s dairy farm Dixie Park Farm Trust, which milks approximately 500 cows on 690 acres. He completed a Bachelor of Business (Ag Management) and has been involved in numerous discussion groups across the district. Working at Warrnambool Cheese & Butter and Reid Stock Feeds has given Mr Glennen an understanding of the industry from a service provider’s, as well as farmer’s perspective. He said he was hoping to bring a young perspective to the Board and to improve the engagement with young people in the industry.

“I want to help improve the projects and activities we have to offer to make sure we are delivering what farmers want,” he said.

 “I believe the future for dairy farming is bright and there are a lot of young passionate people out there.”

Email Matthew: dixiepark@activ8.net.au

Jessica HoweWestvic Dairy Board

Associate Farmer Director

Naringal’s Jessica Howe has joined the Board as an Associate Farmer Director, but she wears two hats: Aside from farming with her husband and his family on their farm, Ms Howe also works as a field officer at Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory. In 2012, Jessica was one of the 14 graduates of the inaugural Great South Coast Leadership program. She also completed a Bachelor Degree in Agriculture with Charles Sturt University and has worked on several farms across the region.

Jess  said joining the WestVic Dairy Board was one step towards achieving her goal of supporting young farmers in the industry.

“I’m very passionate about helping young people who want to start their career in the industry with finding their pathways,” she said.

“Being on both sides of the fence, as a field officer and a farmer, is challenging at times, but it also gives me a good understanding of the issues on both sides.”

“I hope that this will add a unique perspective to the Board.”

Email Jess: jessicawestwick@live.com.au