DataGene Board

DataGene is governed by a skills-based board. Members are elected on their knowledge and experience in dairy, herd improvement, finance, R&D and governance. The board must include three directors with direct expertise in dairy farm management. Directors are entitled to serve a three-year term and up to three consecutive terms (i.e. nine years). The ongoing rotation of directors ensures the ongoing refreshment of skills and experience on the board.

Graeme Gillan


Graeme is the former chair of the National Herd Improvement Association of Australia (NHIA) and former CEO of Holstein Australia. His involvement with dairy herd improvement spans more than 45 years working with several leading Australian genetics companies.

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Over this time Graeme has been involved at the coal face of herd improvement innovations including expanding the sources of genetics, the introduction of computerised mating programs and increasing the gene pool of the Jersey breed in the 1990s, overseas investment in Australian genetics in the 2000s and the promotion of genomics since 2010. He is passionate about the industry’s role in influencing priorities for research, development and extension programs, to ensure herd improvement continues to deliver value to Australian dairy farm businesses.

Alexander Ball

Alex Ball and his wife Melissa own and operate a stud beef enterprise in Armidale NSW.
Having spent 18 years in various roles with MLA, Alex has extensive knowledge of the development of and implementation of genetic evaluation systems including data recording, genomic prediction, and single step evaluation.

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He managed the national sheep recording program Sheep Genetics and was instrumental in the establishment of across-flock, across breed and Merino evaluations for the sheep industry. He has managed national R&D programs in genetics, eating quality, feedbase, adoption and extension. He has conducted evaluation of genetic investments in Australia and internationally. He has also been the CEO and company secretary of Herefords Australia and was responsible for the implementation of single step evaluation for that breed.

Since 2018 Alex has operated his own private consultancy service, Rural Analytics. He has delivered projects in areas such as R&D program evaluation, extension evaluation, agtech innovation, data ecosystems, monitoring and evaluation reporting and framework development, DNA traceability, carcase and animal health feedback, drought resilience, FTAI and sexed semen, objective measurement technology, natural capital, biocontrol of weeds, environmental stewardship, strategic planning, and the independent external review of several RDCs. He has been a policy committee member of Cattle Australia and a ARLP drought mentor. He currently sits on working groups for Cattle Australia and NFF and is a director of the SRS genetics company.

James (Jim) Bruce

Jim Bruce has worked most of his career in the Australian genetics supply chain, including with Semex, ABS, Phoenix Genetics, Genes Diffusion, Genex, Elders Genetic Services and Elders Rural Services. This has given him insights into the different systems operating in Australia, USA, Canada and France.

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He has experience in both dairy and beef artificial breeding and genetics and the opportunities and challenges for herd improvement in Australian livestock industries.

Jim is currently the Country Manager (Australia & NZ) for VikingGenetics.

I am confident I can contribute as a Board member with ideas and lived-experience, along with a strong understanding of organisational processes and governance.

Tim Jelbart

Tim is a dairy farmer and Holstein breeder from Inverloch, West Gippsland, Victoria. He is the general manager and director of Jelbart Dairy which is owned by Tim and his brother, comprising a dryland dairy and beef business with 1,100 high production Holstein milking cows and 1,500 head of dairy replacements and F1 Wagyu calves.

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The business relies on genomic testing for accurate genetic information, which has resulted in significant genetic gains across the herd in recent years. Before returning to the family farm Tim completed a degree in applied science, specialising in property valuation. He remains a part-time rural and agribusiness property valuer with CBRE and has valued some of the largest agribusiness assets across Australia.

Daniel Meade

Daniel and his wife Michaela are co-owner operators of Boonderoo Pastoral Company, milking 400 cows at Kolora, south-west Victoria. Their focus is on maximising pasture production and home-grown feed efficiency whilst breeding an efficient cow that suits this system.

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In 2017, Daniel received a Nuffield scholarship to investigate how agricultural organisations engage with farmers. Before starting dairy farming in their own right in 2018, Daniel spent 10 years as a Dairy Agronomist, and studied at Glenormiston Agricultural College. Daniel was first elected to Moyne Shire Council in 2016 and is currently the Deputy Mayor, having served as Mayor from 2019-2021. He has also held positions on numerous community organisations including WestVic Dairy, VFF, CFA and on local sporting clubs.

Jeff Odgers

Dairy Australia nominated director

Jeff Odgers has more than 35 years’ experience in Australian agribusiness; through involvement in large scale dairy farming, and board roles in research, industry services and food manufacturing.
He was Dairy Australia Chair 2017-2020, serving as a non-executive director between 2013 and 2021.

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Jeff led Murray Dairy Inc as board Chair 2008-2012, during a time of significant evolution in the regions farm systems.
Jeff was also a non-executive director of Bega Cheese Limited 2011-2020 and priorto that Tatura Milk Industries Limited 2009-2011.
He has a deep understanding of the value chain and a passion for farming and encouraging the adoption of technology. Jeff is a strong believer in the capacity
of the dairy industry to create and put tools in the hands of farmers, as an enabler towards strengthening their businesses.

Sam Simpson

Sam Simpson and her husband operate at 450-cow dairy farm, Craiglands Holsteins, at Larpent in South Western Victoria. They have been members of Holstein Australia for 15 years and genotyping their animals since 2015. Sam runs the herd’s breeding program as well as the business finances, HR and information systems.

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She is the Chair of DataGene’s Data Access and Standards Standing Committee and is actively involved in a number of industry groups including promoting dairy to the local community and school groups. Craiglands Holsteins was a focus farm for the ImProving Herds project and Sam was a member of the MIR for Profit project steering committee. Before taking on a full‑time role with the farm, Sam spent 10 years as a sheep officer and Farm$mart Project Manager with the Victorian Department of Primary Industries.