Our Board

Andrew Spencer


Andrew is an experienced senior executive and company director. He finished up a fourteen year stretch as the Chief Executive Officer of Australian Pork Limited in August of 2019 and holds a number of directorships including Australian Farm Institute (Chair), Sheep Producers Australia (Chair), Red Meat Advisory Council, Grains Research and Development Corporation and PorkScan Pty. Ltd.

Andrew’s career as a senior executive of diverse agriculture/ agribusiness organisations, spans more than 30 years in four countries. His skill set is exactly what Sheep Producers Australia is looking for to further the transformational work that has been achieved over these past four years.

“Despite the great financial position of many producers today, there remains significant challenges for the industry and organisation to address. I expect this will be challenging but also exciting and ultimately very rewarding. I look forward to continuing the great work of my predecessor, Mr. Chris Mirams in building a strong and effective representative body for the industry.” -Andrew Spencer

Dr Anne Astin

Independent Director

Dr Anne Astin brings extensive governance experience to SPA. She chairs the Food Agility Co-operative Research Centre, Sir William Angliss Institute of TAFE and Dairy Food Safety Victoria. She was an inaugural independent director when Australian Dairyfarmers changed its governance model to a company limited by guarantee – as SPA did in November 2017. She has previously held directorships at Australian Dairy Farmers and Dairy Australia. During her career, she spent 30 years in senior executive positions in the Victorian public sector in food policy and regulation, public health, agriculture, minerals and petroleum, natural resources and environment, land administration and forensic science. Anne has a B.Sc in Chemistry, a B.Sc (Hons) in Biochemistry and a Ph.D (Biochemistry). She has a Graduate Diploma in Public Sector Management and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Dairy Industry Association of Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology. She chairs SPA’s Audit and Risk Committee.

Jamie Heinrich


Jamie grew up on his family’s 880-hectare sheep farm, Ella Matta, on Kangaroo Island. He completed a degree in international business at the University of South Australia, followed by three years working at one of Australia’s biggest meat processors, Thomas Foods International, in the meat export and livestock departments. For the past five years, he has been a joint owner and manager of his family farm. The Heinrichs operate Australia’s first registered White Suffolk stud and a Poll Merino and Maternal Composite seedstock operation as well as a commercial 18-micron Poll Merino flock. Their core breeding philosophy is about maximising genetic gain through the use of performance recording and ASBVs, while keeping a balanced focus on ease of care and visual structural selection. In late 2014, he was the Youth Ambassador for the Sheepmeat Council of Australia, and has attended the past five American Sheep Industry Conferences. He is a board member of Sheep Producers Australia and Livestock SA and is the vice-chair of Agriculture Kangaroo Island. He was a 2017 Nuffield Scholar, studying ‘attracting and retaining young people in the sheep industry’ which took him to 17 countries over 20 weeks.

Allison Horswill


Based in Tasmania, Allison works in both the domestic and export agricultural markets in trade and international relations. Her work is primarily post-farmgate and focuses on finding opportunities and solving challenges in the value chain in order to bring high quality food and agribusiness products and services to the marketplace. Allison is experienced in strategic analysis and advice, branding, marketing, communications, risk and crisis management and stakeholder engagement in membership-based organisations. With a background in operations management, food safety and quality assurance, supply chains and logistics, she has a special interest in projects that create innovation, efficiency and value throughout the agrifoods value chain. She is currently employed in a management role with the Trade and International Relations unit of the Tasmanian State Government. She also coordinates market access across all agrifoods sectors, working with government, businesses and industry to address barriers to trade, and has participated in international industry and trade delegations. She is a member of the SPA Marketing, Market Access and Trade Policy Committee; vice-chair of the Cattle Council of Australia Marketing, Market Access and Trade Committee and a former non-executive director of Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association.

Dr Elizabeth Jackson


With a first-class Honours degree in Agribusiness Marketing and a Master of Business Administration, Elizabeth has held various management positions at the CBH Group and in other Western Australian agribusinesses. In 2008, Elizabeth completed an ARC-Linkage PhD studentship to study for the WA wool industry. She then worked at Newcastle University (UK) where she was the Degree Programme Director of the BSc Agribusiness Management degree and published on food marketing, supply chain management and maritime economics. In 2014, Elizabeth moved to the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College where she became a Senior Lecturer in Business Management and published on agribusiness and food supply chains. She was the Course Director for the College’s Professional Doctorate degrees in agribusiness and veterinary practice. Elizabeth is now a Senior Lecturer within Curtin Business School where her teaching relates to supply chain management, procurement and distribution and she continues to investigate agri-food systems.

Ben Thomas


Ben is an Agribusiness professional with over 10 years experience in market and financial analysis, leadership, public speaking and corporate agriculture.

Passionate about Agriculture, with my entire career dedicated to the industry. Beginning as a Jackaroo with Twynam Pastoral Co, before leading Meat and Livestock Australia’s Market Information Team, and now in Agri-finance, I’ve held agricultural roles in both commercial and Not-for-Profit sectors. Along they way have attained a Bachelor of Rural Science (UNE) and Master of Agribusiness (University of Melbourne), and volunteered on the Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging Association Committee.

“For my entire professional career, I have been directly involved in the sheep industry and recognise the importance of strategic industry leadership. I am passionate about being involved as a Board Director of Sheep Producers Australia to continue to contribute to a prosperous and world leading industry within Australian agriculture.” says Ben Thomas.

Bindi Murray


Bindi is a commercial sheep producer at Woodanilling, Western Australia, running about 6500 Merino ewes as part of the wool enterprise and 2000 Merino ewes mated to terminal sires. The enterprise provides to local processors as well as the live export market, and works constructively to improve through strong relationships and developing knowledge of the supply chain as a whole. Bindi’s belief that science is at the heart of agriculture led her to complete a Bachelor of Animal Science, where she focused her Honours thesis on the link between high wool production and meat quality. She has also been a research officer for breech-strike trial projects, and now a regular host of producer trials and technical updates. Bindi has also taken on the Chair of LambEx 2018 organising committee, with a view to ensuring that producers are provided with good science and practical solutions. She is a Board Director of the WA Meat Industry Authority Board. Her involvement in advocacy has been an important aspect of Bindi’s career. She has held roles as a policy director, Pastoralists and Graziers Association Committee Member and involvement in national policy issues, such as traceability. In undertaking these roles Bindi has also built business development skills through small business management studies. She has completed the SCA Governance in Action course, the Company Directors Course run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is currently undertaking the Rabobank Executive Leaders program.

Robert Herrmann


Roberts’ career has been intertwined with sheep, in fact before he began working in the sheep & wool industry in an advisory role, growing up the family farm (a prime lamb & wool producing business) was essentially an apprenticeship for the career that has evolved.
My journey led to a number of years in woolsheds as a shearer and wool classer, before joining Elders as District Wool Manager based in Hamilton, known then as the “Wool Capital of the World”.
This was a seminal event, with experience across all types of sheep expanding, and providing advice to sheep producers a critical element in the daily activities of the role.
Coupled with growing up on a sheep farm, this experience gave Robert a wide breadth of understanding of the sheep industry with an emphasis on efficient production. The principle areas covered breeding, productivity, harvesting, wool preparation, marketing & sales.
Starting the Mecardo business in 1996 allowed Robert to expand his experience to all corners of the country, and to further build relationships within the sheep industry.
Robert says, “The opportunity to act as a board member of SPA is an important step in contributing experience and enthusiasm to address the challenges the sheep industry faces into the future.”

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