Cathy McGowan announced as new AgriFutures Australia Chairperson

16 January 2023

Ms Cathy McGowan AO has been appointed the new AgriFutures Australia Chairperson – the latest move in a long career advocating for rural and regional areas.

AgriFutures Australia is one of 15 Research and Development Corporations (RDCs). It invests in rural growth and development, including for emerging high-potential industries like sesame, industrial hemp and seaweed.

A sixth-generation farmer from north-east Victoria, Ms McGowan has held various leadership roles in rural and regional organisations, including as President of Australian Women in Agriculture, prior to her service as a Member of Parliament.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt welcomed Ms McGowan into the position, and said he was looking forward to working with her on building the innovation, sustainability and success of the agriculture sector.

“The appointment of Ms McGowan as chairperson of AgriFutures Australia will continue to provide strong leadership for the corporation and industry,” Minister Watt said.

“AgriFutures Australia is uniquely placed, as it supports a wide range of established and emerging industries and addresses national rural issues across the agriculture sector.”

“Ms McGowan’s past experience in the Australian Parliament as the Federal Member for Indi means she is well positioned to be a strong advocate and leader for the organisation and sector.

“Australia’s rural Research and Development Corporation (RDC) model is the cornerstone of our agricultural innovation system.

“Our RDCs allow industry an opportunity to invest in targeted research and development and marketing to drive productivity, profitability and sustainability.

Ms McGowan has been appointed for a three-year term.

Ms McGowan’s appointment as AgriFutures Australia Chairperson follows the retirement of Mrs Kay Hull AO from the position in December 2022.

“I would like to thank Mrs Hull for the strategic leadership and direction that she has provided to AgriFutures Australia since her appointment in 2016,” Minister Watt said.

“She has overseen many significant investments in research and development that have delivered outcomes for levy payers, industry and government and I wish her all the best in her retirement.”