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 a not for profit strategic research institute – Future Directions International (FDI) - in Perth.
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.
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.
Brent Finlay is the current President of the National Farmers’ Federation. Brent has more than 25 years experience in agriculture through his family's farming business in Queensland. He has worked extensively in sheep, wool, cattle, grain and hay production, and now runs Cooinda, a sheepmeat, wool and beef property in the Traprock region of south east Queensland, with his three daughters.
Brent's roles in agricultural representation began in 2000. During this time, the focus was on marketing, environmental issues and membership growth - issues that remain as relevant for Australian agriculture as a whole today as they were for Queensland woolgrowers then. He has held numerous representative positions since that time, and was elected as NFF president in November 2013.
John Hartley graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1965 and served twice in South Vietnam where he commanded an infantry platoon and was the Senior Advisor to a South Vietnamese infantry battalion. He retired from the Army in 2000, having headed Army's Training Command, been Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation, Deputy Chief of Army and Head of Army's Land Command.
John joined Future Directions International (FDI) in 2009. Among its research tasks, FDI seeks to determine whether we have an impending food and water crisis and,if so, what will cause it, what impact this might have on Australia and what should we as a nation do about it. FDI also seeks to analyse the future development of northern Australia and how we might regenerate our degrading landscapes.
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.
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.
Neal Menzies is an Australian Professor of Soil Science at The University of Queensland. In his early adult years, Neal completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) in 1985, a Master of Agricultural Studies in 1987, and a PhD in 1992. Neal has worked for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Cameroon, the Newcastle University (Newcastle upon Tyne) in England, and The University of Queensland in Australia, where he is currently Head of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences.
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.
SOILS FOR LIFE PROGRAM OFFICE
Natalie Williams is the Soils for Life Chief of Staff. She joined the organisation in 2017, bringing practical regeneration experience as a former land manager of a a 7600 hectare sustainably-managed cattle station. Natalie has run her own businesses and has held numerous Director positions on Corporate Agriculture Management boards. Natalie is also a former Nuffield Scholar, studying carbon sequestration in arid and semi-arid environs, sustainable grazing systems and how farmers can make money trading carbon.