As a non-profit, non-government organisation, Soils for Life is managed by a small Program Office and relies on the generous support provided by our many friends and volunteers.
Read about the wonderful farmers and land managers whose stories we hope will inspire many others to adopt regenerative landscape management practices.
Soils for Life Board
Major General The Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO(Mil), CVO, MC (Retd) was born in Wiluna, Western Australia in 1937. He graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon into Infantry serving operationally in Malaya, Borneo, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam, where he was awarded the Military Cross and the South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He retired from the Army in 1993 and was appointed Governor of Western Australia until 2000. Post retirement as Governor, he established in Perth, a not for profit strategic research institute – Future Directions International (FDI). From 2003 to 2008 he served as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia where his key interests were in youth, education and food security. Currently he is Chairman of FDI and Outcomes Australia and patron of some other 16 charitable organisations and the Executive Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in Australia. In October 2013 he was appointed by the Prime Minister as Australia's Advocate for Soil Health. Married to Marlena, he enjoys golf, cricket, fishing, reading and music.
Professor John Crawford holds the Judith and David Coffey Chair in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Sydney. With a background in physics, his interest is in the origins of organisation in cells and communities and has led him to uncover properties in complex living systems that sustain their function in the face of disruption. His current projects range from modelling of soil, to working with a whole range of community and business representatives on projects that focus on the social and cultural systems of food production, food distribution and food consumption. His collaborators are as diverse as Tongan rugby players, immigrant survivors of torture, major food production companies and Indigenous communities, as well as academics and researchers from a diverse range of fields. In the United Kingdom he chaired the main funding committee responsible for supporting research in sustainable agriculture, diet and health. He currently serves on the Federal Ministers’ Working Party on Land, Food and Water helping to develop a national strategy towards a sustainable and productive future for Australia’s landscape.
Peter Debnam’s experience began with his Navy service followed by executive roles in business development and general management in the aerospace and rural service industries. He completed an MBA in 1993 before being elected to the NSW State Parliament the following year. In parliament for 17 years, Peter was a Shadow Minister in many portfolios and Leader of the Liberal Party and State Opposition between 2005 and 2007. After deciding to leave State Parliament in 2011, Peter has contributed much of his time and energy to serving on the boards of a number of charities and not-for-profit organisations.
Chris Knoblanche is currently Senior Advisor, Corporate & Investment Banking, Australia & New Zealand for Citigroup. He has been advising local and multinational companies for over 32 years in areas such as corporate strategy, financing, risk control and management. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Financial Management), is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and is a Fellow of the Australia Society of CPAs. He holds various key board positions. Chris is currently Chair of The Australian Ballet. In 2003 he was awarded the Centenary Medal by the Federal Government for service to business and the arts.
Moira Lanzarin is a modern farmer: combining 4th generation cattle breeding heritage and a lifetime of practical knowledge and love of the land with tertiary studies in Business Law and diploma of Company Director. She manages the family company’s stud and beef operations in the Northern Territory and a 500 square kilometre rangeland property. She has been instrumental in introducing Holistic Management to the NT and extensively involved with Indigenous cattle management. She has extensive board experience at a local, Territory and national level within industry and Government.
Alasdair MacLeod worked for News Ltd for 20 years where his roles included Managing Director of The Times of London and of Nationwide News, the publisher of The Daily Telegraph and The Australian. He now devotes a great deal of his time to overseeing family owned grazing enterprises in the Southern Tableland and New England Regions of NSW, where he is implementing high performance land management practices.
David Marsh is a family farmer from Boorowa NSW and has managed his home property, Allendale, since 1971. Allendale was formerly a cropping and livestock operation but now runs livestock only. David holds a Masters of Sustainable Agriculture (Sydney University, Orange 2001). He brings his long experience as a grazier and conservationist and his 15 years as an holistic management practitioner to the Soils for Life Board. David is a former winner of Central West Conservation Farmer of the Year, a former member NSW Native Vegetation Advisory Council, a former Founding Chair Boorowa Community Landcare group. He has recently retired after an eight year term as Board Member of Lachlan CMA. He is currently a Committee member Carbon Farmers of Australia.
In recent years David has addressed farmer groups in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia, hosted many bus tours of the farm and been asked to speak at regional conferences on healthy soils, people in the landscape, exploring issues on soil carbon, biodiversity, salinity and managing for improved landscape function. Read about the soils carbon results David has achieved on his farm and learn more of his experiences as shared through our Soil Health Webinars.
Marvin Weinman is a company director and business advisor with over 20 years experience in managing companies in Australia, New Zealand, United States, Asia, Japan and Canada. Marvin has a wide-ranging management background in marketing, supply chain management and financial and strategic planning within the fast moving consumer goods, apparel products and the building material industries.
With a track record of driving major change and improvement programs, his executive experience includes MD of George Weston Foods and of Boral Building products and he served as general manager for Laminex Industries and Formica Asia.
Professor Iain Young is the Head of School of Environmental and Rural Science at the University of New England. Graduating from Aberdeen University with a degree and PhD in soil science, Iain has held several senior positions in the UK, including co-ordinating Terrestrial Carbon research for Scottish Universities, Director of Sensation Science Centre, and was a committee member of the main Agriculture and Food Funding Councils. He currently is the President of the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture, and serves on the National RD&E Committee for Primary Industries and the National Corporate Soil Assessment Program.
Soils for Life Program Office
Simon Gould is a former Army Officer of 31 years service. His military career included commanding an infantry battalion in East Timor, the Deputy for Operations with the Multi-National Force in Iraq and an appointment as Director General of Defence Force Recruiting. He brings his planning, coordination and communications skills to the Soils for Life program, where he has been assisting the Chairman since October 2009.
With much work ahead of the team, Simon is particularly interested in the human dimension that will be pivotal in realising the Program’s objective.