Our four owner-directors – local growers themselves, have more than 180 years’ combined experience as irrigation farmers and business owners. Together, they take an active role in the day-to-day managements of Southern Cotton.
They have built a strong reputation as exceptional operators and have a deep understanding of the Southern Valleys cotton community. Each brings different skill sets and experiences to Southern Cotton.
Larry Walsh (Chairman)
Larry Walsh is the general manager of Larry Walsh Pty Ltd, a company he founded in 1982. The company began as a transport business and later diversified into fertilizer sales and distribution – which is now in a partnership with Elders Rural Merchandise.
In partnership, Larry has built the fourth ethanol plant in Australia, has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course and is a director on the Kararbury Channel.
His farming operation began in 2001 with a rice farm in Coleambally. Today, the business grows 1200 hectares of irrigated cotton and 1000 hectares of dry land cereals. Larry employs 10 full-time staff, including three of his children.
Scott Hogan is the owner of a 2150-hectare irrigation farming business. Scott is a fourth-generation food and fibre producer and built an ethanol plant with Larry Walsh at Coleambally.
With an advanced Certificate in Irrigation and an Advanced Diploma in Agriculture, Scott graduated from an Australian Institute of Company Directors course in 2010. He is the current President at Coleambally Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) branch, and holds a number of other positions at the RGA central executive, including the water committee.
Roger and Tim Commins
Brothers Roger and Tim Commins are directors of Commins Enterprises, a dynamic farming and manufacturing company located near Whitton NSW. Established in 1989, the farming business has been adapted with changing technology and market trends. The business services a farming area of 3800 hectares with crops including cotton, rice, maize, seed sunflowers and winter cereals.
The pair head up a diversified business, which includes a 350-hectare hardwood eucalyptus plantation, a wine tank and storage facility, hydroponic seedless mandarin plantation (joint business), and ethanol plant. Commins Enterprises currently employs 24 full-time staff across its business streams.
We pride ourselves on providing growers with the highest level of expertise. Our management team has over 120 years’ combined agricultural industry management experience.
Kate O’Callaghan is the general manager of Southern Cotton, and has 30 years’ experience in agribusiness and agricultural research. On a day-to-day basis, Kate runs Southern Cotton’s financial, logistical, contract and production management, as well as leading a team of 15 permanent staff and more than 50 seasonal casuals.
Recognised as one of Australia’s top 100 Women in Australian Agribusiness in 2014, Kate heads up the liaison and negotiations with growers, and represents Southern Cotton at Cotton Australia.
She is passionate about locals and visitors understanding the quality, sustainability and excellence of agriculture in the region. Kate represents the cotton industry as a speaker in many forums.
Chris Veness, Gin Manager
With over 30 years’ experience in cotton ginning and a passion for all-things cotton, Chris is natural-born workaholic who oversees the ins and outs of the gin 24 hours a day. Chris and the ginning team provide engineering and cotton ginning solutions, maintenance expertise, troubleshooting and capital upgrades, while working diligently towards annual improved efficiencies. Our expert ginning team has over 75 years’ combined cotton ginning experience across some of the top gins in Australia.
Corrie Ratcliff, Accounts Manager
Corrie has a Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting, and brings over 20 years’ management experience to Southern Cotton. Before joining the Southern Cotton team in 2013, Corrie was a management accountant in the beef industry.
Ben Bagust, Operations and Data Analyst
Ben is a tertiary-qualified environmental scientist and has been working with Southern Cotton since August. Prior to joining Southern Cotton, Ben held numerous roles in Leeton and England.