Owners and management 

Our owners

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As the four owner-directors of Southern Cotton, we take an active role in the day-to-day management of the cotton gin. Local growers ourselves, we've built a strong reputation as involved and exceptional operators, with a deep understanding of the Southern Valleys cotton community. You'll see we bring different skillsets and experiences to Southern Cotton.

Larry

Larry Walsh

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.

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Brothers Roger and
Tim Commins

We're directors of Commins Enterprises, a dynamic farming and manufacturing company located near Whitton NSW. Established in 1989, our farming business has 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.

We head up a diversified business, which includes a 350-hectare hardwood eucalyptus plantation, a stainless steel and wine tank manufacturing business, wine storage facility, and hydroponic seedless mandarin plantation (joint business). Commins Enterprises currently employs 30 full-time staff across its business streams.

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Scott Hogan

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.

Our Management

Our management team provides Southern Cotton growers with ongoing support and guidance, delivered with care and responsiveness. We want to help you be a profitable cotton producer this season and the next.

Kate O'Callaghan

Kate O'Callaghan

Kate O'Callaghan is the chief executive officer of Southern Cotton and Whitton Malt House Pty Ltd., and has more than 30 years' experience in agribusiness and agricultural research. On a day-to-day basis at Southern Cotton, Kate runs the business's financial, logistical, contract and production management, as well as leading a team of  permanent and seasonal employees and contractors.

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.

 

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Chris Veness

Gin Manager

With over 30 years' experience in cotton ginning and a passion for all-things cotton, Chris is a 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.

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Ben Bagust

Operations and Data Analyst

Ben liaises with national and international rail and export companies to facilitate a fast and economical path from gin to port. As Southern Cotton's data analyst, he also manages challenging data from a constantly-evolving industry to improve the gin's efficiencies. Growing up in England, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. Now, he works closely with our custom-made software program to capture our grower's accurate data.

Jenna

Jenna Bell

Grower Support Coordinator

Jenna is from a third-generation farming family. She currently lives locally with her husband and three kids, where the family grows cotton and winter cereals. Her strengths are agricultural data and technology, farm budgets and document/policy writing. Plus, she has a strong interest in sustainable agriculture and economic profitability. A member of the Southern Valleys Cotton Growers Association, Jenna is also involved in the GROW program for women in the cotton and grains industry and is co-owner of Bidgee Automation Pty Ltd. She's completed a Bachelor of Nursing and brings her people-first qualities into her role at Southern Cotton as the grower support coordinator.

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Dudley Dunbar

Freight Coordinator

As the freight coordinator, Dudley organises the transport of bales from other gins in the Southern Valleys to be warehoused at our state-of-the-art warehousing facility, which has the capacity to store up to 50000 bales. He joined the team at Southern Cotton in 2017, prior to the opening of the warehousing facilities in 2018.

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Paul Flewitt

Farm manager

Paul is the manager of the Coleambally-based Southern Cotton farming operation. With 24 years of experience in growing cotton and a long history in family and corporate farming, he leads the team on the myBMP-accredited property "Tubbo Irrigation". As well as crop production and business management, Paul's trained in cotton harvester operations and repairs and offers cotton-growing advice and techniques to new cotton growers in the Southern Valleys. With extensive contract picking experience and strong relationships in the Southern Valleys, Paul loves being the contract picker manager.

Abbie

Abbie Pumpa

Grower Marketing Coordinator

Abbie is the grower marketing coordinator at Southern Cotton, bringing first-hand experience to the role having grown up on a mixed farming, dryland property near Pleasant Hills, NSW. Currently, she lives with my partner on an irrigation property near Coleambally, where they grow cotton. Prior to Southern Cotton, Abbie worked as a grain broker for Agfarm in Wagga Wagga. She's completed a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology at UNE.

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Michelle Reiner

Agribusiness Coordinator

Joining the team in 2019, Michelle leads the daily gin tours and is enthusiastic about educating locals and the many visitors at Southern Cotton about the 'dirt to shirt' story. With over 12 years' experience in the industry, Michelle is passionate about all-things cotton. She facilitates partnerships with local businesses, agribusinessses and tourism centres.

 

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Stephanie Harvie

Administration Officer

Stephanie joined the team as cottonseed and accounts administration officer in 2019. Steph is dedicated to providing exceptional customer service to all of our clients and visitors. Steph's outstanding organisational skills and efficiency underpins the daily office operations at Southern Cotton.

 

Phil

Phil Tozer

Warehouse Manager

Phil heads up the Southern Cotton warehousing team. He oversees the operations of 10 forklift drivers, and is responsible for ensuring bales are efficiently loaded into containers while still on trucks. Fast turnaround times are achieved, thanks to his expertise. Phil has worked at Southern Cotton for the past six years. He is also a qualified fitter and assists with machinery maintenance in the off season.

Jeanette

Jeanette Veness

Accounts Manager

Since 2016, Jeanette has been managing the accounts department at Southern Cotton. With many years' experience up her sleeve, she's held numerous positions at cotton gins across NSW, in different capacities. Her job is to keep the accounts department running smoothly throughout the ginning season. Previously, she's managed her own retail business and farm in Queensland, where she completed the bookkeeping. 

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Melissa Dufty

Site and Human Resources Manager

Joining the Southern Cotton team in 2018, Melissa oversees the day-to-day running of the site, together with human resources and WMH. Her areas of expertise include logistics, customer service and people management.

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