Hart is proudly managed by a board of volunteers, all with a passion for broad acre agriculture.
With a deliberate mix of farmers and other professionals from across the ag industry, board members collectively provide a vast range of skills, experience and networks to the group. We cover a broad geographical area too as our team farm and work across a large part of the Mid-North of South Australia and beyond.
Successful candidates are elected at our AGM in April of each year for a three year term, at the end of which they may choose to either re-nominate or retire. Staff employed by the group are ultimately responsible to the board. Board meetings are held regularly to review and manage operations and to plan strategically for the future which means we have a clear and consistent focus; to identify the research areas that will enable growers to remain profitable and sustainable.
If you're interested in joining the board or have a research topic of interest to pass on, please feel free to get in contact with one of our board members, we'd love to hear from you.
Damien Sommerville - Chairman / Sponsorship
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Damien Sommerville, or Sommy as he’s known to many, is the Hart Field-Site Group chairperson.
He’s been active on the board since 2010 and got involved to give back to farming but also to broaden his networks with like-minded, passionate people involved in improving agriculture.
Damien is a farmer, spray contractor and agronomist at Spalding who is passionate about sustainable agriculture and long-term generational farming.
He is married with three children and and loves getting out with his family camping, enjoying the outdoors and sitting around a campfire.
Ryan Wood - Vice Chairman
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Ryan Wood joined the Hart board in April 2018 and is looking forward to combining his passion for agriculture with the opportunity to work with a group of like-minded people across a broad range of expertise.
Ryan is an agronomist based in Clare, specialising in broadacre and pasture agronomy but has a real interest in how all aspects of agriculture can work together.
Out of the paddock, Ryan is a husband and a dad to three young children, as well as a keen footballer, basketballer and tennis player.
Sandy Kimber - Executive officer
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Sandy Kimber keeps the Hart Field-Site Group running smoothly as executive officer.
She has been a board member since 2008 and wears many hats in her role and her extensive knowledge and skills are second to none.
She publishes the group’s Hart Beat newsletter, manages sponsors, members, events, extension, marketing, group functions, the website…you name it, Sandy has her finger on the pulse.
Sandy is passionate about finding ways to provide information and resources to growers to help make farming better, easier and more profitable.
Outside of her Hart work, Sandy is involved in the family farm and vineyard near Clare, taking care of finance, administration and grain sales.
She has two children and loves photography, reading, movies, socialising and enjoying some of the fabulous wine the Clare Valley has to offer.
Deb Purvis - Finance officer
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Deb Purvis joined the Hart board in April 2017, seeing it as a way to give back to the industry that has provided her a career and also as a way to share her expertise in finance at a board level.
Deb runs her own debt advisory business, Robinson Sewell Partners. She is a specialist in agribusiness finance, providing debt funding solutions for financial restructuring, succession planning, refinancing and business expansion/acquisitions to farmers and rural business.
Aside from work, Deb is married with two children, lives on a farm at Farrell Flat and enjoys travel and camping…although five star accommodation is equally appealing to her!
High on her bucket list is to walk the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory.
Matt Dare - Commercial crop manager
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Matt Dare joined the Hart board in 2001 and has worn many hats during his involvement including a term as chairman and a long serving representative on the sponsorship sub-committee. He has been the group’s commercial crop manager since 2014.
He joined initially to learn more about the technical side of crop production and the latest agronomy research.
In addition to his role as Hart’s commercial crop manager, Matt farms at Marola.
He has a particular interest in pulses but also innovation and improvement in agronomy and crop management, leading to increased farm productivity and profitability.
Matt is married with three children, is a die-hard Crows supporter and loves sport as an outlet outside of work including footy, tennis and cricket.
Justin Wundke - Sponsorship
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Justin Wundke is a broadacre farmer at Condowie with his father and brother, where they also run a few sheep alongside their cropping enterprise.
Justin, a past president of the Hart Field-Site Group, saw that joining the board in 2004 was a great way to give back to the farming community and help continue the strong traditions established by the Hart group.
Given the location of the family farm, Justin has a strong interest in profitable broadacre farming in variable rainfall country.
He also spent a year working on a farm in Canada to broaden his agriculture knowledge and experience.
Outside of farming, Justin is married with a young daughter and enjoys a hit of tennis in the summer and kicking back watching his AFL team, Geelong, during the footy season.
Leigh Fuller - Sponsorship
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Koolunga farmer Leigh Fuller was elected to the Hart board in 2016 as a great way to develop his personal and organisational development and give a little back to the farming community.
Leigh has an interest in all facets of farming, particularly cropping and the technical side of it, but also enjoys working with sheep.
He is married with two children and loves to get out traveling, camping, fishing and water skiing.
Andre Sabeeney - Board member
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Andre Sabeeney joined the Hart board in 2011 seeing it as a way to get involved with a pro-active group that could have a direct and positive impact for growers.
He is employed by Nufarm Limited, working with CropCare as a technical lead, specialising in crop protection.
Outside of his work, Andre lives in Clare with his wife and two children and enjoys nothing better than getting outdoors for some camping and 4wd action.
Judy Wilkinson - Board member
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Judy, with her husband Martin and a great team of staff including her sons, operates a farming business between Lochiel and Snowtown along the Hummocks Ranges.
Judy believes and encourages a professional approach to operating farming businesses and creating environments that sustain families and farms, as an important element to South Australia’s ongoing farming sustainability.
Judy says a professional approach in an organisation that relies on volunteers requires similar skills as operating a family run farming business, and sees her role on the Hart board as a support for this environment.
In addition to her farming operation and Hart commitments, Judy also runs a consulting business supporting farming families with succession, business continuance and communication, and enjoys walking, water skiing, travel, book club and film club in her ‘spare’ time.
Pete Baker - Board member
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Pete Baker joined the Hart board in 2016, but was no stranger to the work of the Hart Field-Site Group, having had an ongoing link over many years through his work as a farm production and farm business consultant.
With his experience and knowledge, he felt he had plenty to offer the group and the community and stepped up to take a position on the board.
Pete has many years of experience also in the agricultural chemical field and is very keen to see passionate people remain sustainable in agriculture.
Outside of work Pete spends his time with his wife and two daughters, enjoys a game of golf, gardening and home renovation projects.
Simon Honner - Board member
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Simon Honner joined the Hart board in April 2017 feeling the time was right to contribute something back to the industry rather than just being on the receiving end of Hart’s field days and information sessions.
He is a self-employed agronomist and rural business consultant based at Blyth who is passionate about mixed farming enterprises that are sustainable, regardless of seasonal conditions and situations.
Outside of work, Simon is married with three children and enjoys footy, fishing and camping, as well spending a considerable amount of ‘spare’ time tending to the Blyth football oval as curator.
Alex Thomas - Board member
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Alex Thomas is the daughter of a pastoralist, who loves broccoli and is keen to get involved with the Hart Field-Site Group to further her passion for the rural sector.
The Director and Principal Consultant of her own business, Alex Thomas Pty Ltd, Alex specialises in non-legal work health and safety advice for all levels of business.
Alex’s motivation for joining the Hart Board (commencing June, 2018) is to give back to the industry that she says has given so much to her, as well as enabling the perfect link in helping her to remain connected with rural communities.
In her business consulting role, Alex is passionate about engaging and empowering rural women as agents for change, to reducing the number of people injured at work in primary industries, and supporting the sustainability of family businesses.
Sarah Noack has been with the Hart Field-Site Group since 2013 as research and extension manager.
Her role includes coordination of Hart’s extensive trial program and sharing research with growers to improve farm business.
She is passionate about soil fertility and crop nutrition so her role in delivering research projects in the Mid-North is a perfect match.
Outside of work, Sarah lives at Kapunda where her home renovation keeps her busy.
Emma Pearse - Regional intern
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Emma Pearse is the Hart Field-Site Group’s Regional Intern for 2018.
She has a Bachelor of Science (Major in Natural Resource Management) with Honours from the University of Western Australia.
Emma finds all aspects of agriculture interesting as there is always something new to learn but she has a particular passion for soil biology, especially in finding ways to better utilise what is naturally available in the soil.
While she grew up on a farm near the town of Miling, WA, 250 km north east of Perth, Emma loves travel and enjoys being able to see and experience different landscapes and cultures.
Emma is working alongside the group’s research and extension manager Dr Sarah Noack in trial planning and design, monitoring, analysis and communication of research to growers and will be employed by the Hart group until March 2019.
Sandy Kimber - Executive officer
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See above for profile.
Gabrielle Hall - Hart media
Gabrielle Hall has been helping get the Hart message out since 2010 as the group’s media and public relations consultant.
Having worked in agricultural and regional print and broadcast media for more than 20 years, Gabrielle helps promote Hart’s major events by writing and distributing news articles and photos through her extensive network of media contacts.
Having grown up on a farm at Jamestown, she is passionate about helping deliver the stories of rural and regional Australia to the wider community and loves nothing better than getting out, getting her boots dirty and chatting to farmers to help get the Hart story out there.
Based in Clare, Gabrielle is mum to three sports mad boys, a wife, a freelance journalist/public relations consultant and spends plenty of time on the sidelines at the local footy and cricket!