Co-operative Farming

Our Team

The Co-operative Farming project is based on the principles of co-operation among co-operatives and farmers talking with farmers to share knowledge

Three project envoys and eight farming and fishery champions have been appointed to the project to lead, inspire and guide our interactions and engagement with farming communities.


Simon Lane (located SA, representing SA, VIC and TAS) 

Almondco (formerly)

Since 1998, Simon and his wife have owned and operated a 200-acre property 50km south of Adelaide. They run 80 cattle, produce approximately 2000L of olive oil annually and look after a 300hectare eucalypt and pine forest. He has a great love of the land and of the people in rural communities.

For the last eight years Simon has chaired Almondco Australia Limited, a SA-based almond processing company. Almondco has a powerful cooperative culture focusing on the best interests of its almond grower members. It is a fully vertically integrated company with both domestic and export markets and an annual turnover of approximately $250m. Simon finished this role at the end of March 2020.

Greg Wall AM (Representing WA and NT)
Margaret River Wine Association

Greg is the former Group CEO of Capricorn Society and serves as a director of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) the global peak body for co-operatives. He is also the Chair of the ICA Audit and Risk Committee and the Chairman of the Margaret River Wine Association. He has held a variety of relevant directorships including CUSCAL, Edith Cowan University, Automotive Holdings, COOPS WA and Home Building Society. Greg was the Chairman of the Australian International Year of Cooperatives Secretariat, led the formation of the Business Councils of Mutuals and Cooperatives in Australia and was a director.  In 2019 he was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia, recognising his outstanding achievement and service to business and to the community.


Greg Mcnamara (Representing NSW, ACT and QLD)
Norco Co-operative

Greg has spent his entire life working in the agricultural sector, firstly as a dairy share farmer, then moving to farm ownership in his mid-twenties. Greg currently runs a 300-strong dairy herd in partnership with his wife and son at Goolmangar near Lismore. Greg has been a Director of Norco Co-operative Limited since 1996 and has held the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors since 1999. He is also a member of the Northern Rivers Cooperatives Alliance. He is a strong believer in working co-operatively for better outcomes for all.


Brett Kelly (located NSW)
Oz Group Co-operative

Brett was the CEO for Norco Co-operative for nine years and is the current CEO of Oz Group Co-operative. Both are successful, 100% Australian farmer owned Co-operatives with significant brand presence and market positioning. He has substantial experiences in successfully building farmer member-based organisations in both wholesale and retail markets.

Stephen Thandi (Located NSW)
Oz Group Co-operative

Stephen is Oz Group’s Chairman and a local businessman. He started farming as a hobby after work and on weekends when a tenant left his farmland in a derelict state. He completed a Certificate III in Horticulture at TAFE and began working on his own on one farm and started working with a friend on another.

Stephen joined Oz Berries in 2005 and saw joining Oz Group as a ‘no-brainer’- he could just focus on the farming and saw his membership as a way to be able to relax knowing that his fruit would be quality controlled, packed and marketed for him. He sees the strength of the co-op in its collective nature: that when working together local farmers can achieve better things. The co-op markets for the collective and has stronger buying and selling power.

Stephen understands the complexities of the farming industry and hopes, with the help of Oz Group’s Agronomy Team, that farmers are able to maintain their compliance with government regulations. He also wishes to see a berry industry that is sustainable in the long term, with supply and demand in good balance.

Doriana Mangili (Located WA)
Sweeter Banana Co-operative

With experience working in Mutuals and Friendly Societies both in the UK and Australia, Doriana moved to Carnarvon, Western Australia in 2005 and became a farmer joining the Sweeter Banana Co-Operative.

The Sweeter Banana co-operative was formed by a group of growers in 1993. The idea was to develop a recognisable brand so that Perth consumers could identify and purchase their banana of choice, the Carnarvon Sweeter Banana. The co-operative is owned and operated by 25 farmers all on family-run farms on the banks of the Gascoyne River.

Working as a farmer, in marketing and now the Business Manager of the co-operative, Doriana is well versed on the challenges and opportunities for farming Co-operatives.

Natalie Browning (Located WA)
CBH Group (Co-operative Bulk Handling Group)

Natalie was elected as a Director of the CBH Board in 2018. She runs a continuous cropping operation on her property in Kondinin. She is a member of the Rabobank Western Australian Client Council and Chair of the Narembeen District High School Board. Natalie has completed the Executive Leadership Program Co-operatives and Mutuals facilitated by University of Western Australia Business School and the Australian Institute of Management and is also a former member of the CBH Growers’ Advisory Council. Natalie is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Business Law) at Curtin University.

Basil Lenzo (Located WA)
Geraldton Fisherman’s Co-op

Basil is a third-generation lobster fisherman from Fremantle, Western Australia with over 38 years of experience in the industry. He Joined the Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative (GFC) in 2004 and was elected to the board in 2007, where he currently holds position of Chair. He is also a director of the Rural Financial Counselling Service, Western Australia.

He sees the Co-operative Farming program as a fantastic opportunity to fortify the co-operative principles and to help primary producers and regional communities.

Simon Stahl (Located NSW)
Northern Co-operative Meat Company

Simon has been working in the beef & pork processing industries for over 30 years, having worked at KR Darling Downs in Toowoomba and at Nippon Meat Packers Australia (NMPA). Simon has a Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting Major and his professional career has spanned a wide range of positions. He is also deputy chair of the National Processor Council (AMIC) and a Director of AMPC.

Simon began his current role as CEO of Northern Co-operative Meat Company Ltd (NCMC), Casino NSW in 2012. NCMC is a farmer owned Co-operative operating beef, pork and hide processing sites across northern NSW. Appreciating the importance of co-operatives to the Northern Rivers, Simon also played a leading role in setting up the Cooperative Alliance (CA), which is an association of northern rivers co-operatives and mutuals operating in agribusiness, fisheries and financial services. The CA is united to raise awareness of the contribution of local co-ops to the economy and to provide leadership in economic and community development in the Northern Rivers.

Wally Newman (Located WA)

Wally is a farmer from Newdegate in Western Australia’s grain belt. A director of several private companies, he is renowned as the instigator of the popular Newdegate Machinery Field Days and is its former President and a current committee member. Wally has 25 years of local government experience, including three years as Deputy President of the Lake Grace Shire.  

Wally Newman served as Director of the CBH Board from May 2000 to early 2020. He was the Deputy Chairman from 2008-2012 and elected Chairman in 2014. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

 John Seccombe (Located NSW)

Northern Co-operative Meat Company

John became a Director of the Northern Co-operative Meat Company in 2010 and was elected Chairman in 2013. John has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from the University of New England, Armidale. He is also a committee member of the Cattle Council of Australia and is a member of the Cattle Committee for the NSW Farmers Association.

John has a strong family background in the Northern Rivers cattle industry and operates a beef breeder enterprise targeting the veal market with progeny primarily being direct consigned to NCMC. His background provides him with a wide understanding and appreciation of the red meat and livestock industry.

John has taken an active role in Co-operative issues and advocated for co-operatives wherever possible. He is Chairman of the Cooperative Alliance and seeks to raise the profile of the Alliance and co-operative/mutual models through the broader community and Government by explaining the benefits of the member-owned organisations.


1300 665 174


This project is supported by the Department of Agriculture, through funding from Australian Government’s Starting Farm Co-operative Program.

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