Board of directorsSubtropical Dairy Programme Limited
Chairman, Farmer Director
Lockyer Valley, South East Queensland
Luke has been involved in the dairy industry his whole life including a year with the Dept of Agriculture C4Milk team based at the UQ Gatton Campus in a part time role as a technical officer. He currently manages the family dairy farm at Glenore Grove in the Lockyer Valley, SE Qld, milking 120 Jersey cows.
Luke began representative roles in the industry after completing a Developing Dairy Leaders course in 2014. Since that time, he has held numerous Board and committee positions. Luke was first on the Board of Subtropical Dairy from 2014 – 2019 and returned during 2020.
Ruth has been involved in the dairy industry her entire life, growing up on the family farm at Harrisville in South East Queensland. She was elected to the Board of Subtropical Dairy in November 2019.
Together with her husband Geoffrey, they took over the Chalk family farm at Carney’s Creek after Cyclone Debbie in 2017. The farm has been operating since the 1960’s and they now milk 140 adults through a PMR system.
After completing her studies in Agribusiness and Applied Science in 2006, Ruth took a position with the Dairying Better ‘n Better Program, a joint partnership between Subtropical Dairy and the Qld Dairyfarmers Organisation. In 2008, she took over as Project Manager and continued this role through to 2018.
Ruth has a passion for dairy nutrition and business management and has been involved in a number of other industry programs including Leadin and the Young Dairy Network.
Ruth believes that the skills and strength required to have a successful dairy farm are far greater than any other industry, something that should be celebrated. She is optimistic about the future prospects for dairy farming and is continuously challenging her own business and looking for ways to improve.
When not juggling the dairy business and her young children Darcy and Lindsay, Ruth enjoys spending time with family and friends and playing team sports.
Vice Chairman, Farmer Director
South East Queensland
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Cameron was elected to the Board in November 2019 and brings over 37 years of experience in the Australian dairy industry to the role.
After beginning his career as farm manager and researcher at the Ellinbank Research Institute in Victoria, Cameron has held various roles in government extension, research, farm management and processor advisory and management positions. He also has previous experience as a Management Committee member of Subtropical Dairy and as been the key driver behind the development of a number of industry benchmarking, nutritional and quality management programs.
With over 70% of his career based in Queensland, Cameron understands the complexities across the value chain of the northern dairy industry. He believes that for farmers, managing the implementation of sustainable practices while maintaining dairy business profitability is a challenge in the current operating environment. The adoption of best practice and implementing programs that target key profit drivers will assist in developing resilient businesses capable of adapting to change both short and long term.
Cameron has a keen interest in the continuing sustainability of the subtropical dairy industry and values the long term relationships he has developed with both farmers and service providers over the years.
Howard is a Senior Farm Services Officer with Bega Dairy and Drinks, based at Malanda on the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland. He joined the Board of Subtropical Dairy in 2021.
Howard has 32 years’ experience in the tropical dairy industry, starting as a Dairy Husbandry Officer with the DPI based in Malanda. He now been a Farm Services officer for over 20 years on the Tablelands with the region’s major milk processor. His career focus has been on extension and adult education in the dairy industry. He continued extensive collaboration with research staff at the DPI Kairi Research Station until its closure, and now with DAFF Gatton.
Howard has been extensively involved in his local community during this time, with interests in the Malanda Scout Group, Rural Youth, the Tablelands Toastmasters Club and the Malanda Theatre Company.
Malanda, Far North Queensland
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Elke and her husband Peter have dairy-farmed in the Sunshine Coast hinterland for over thirty years.
Elke brings extensive board and committee experience to Subtropical Dairy with current and past directorships with Maple Street Co-operative, Norco Co-operative, Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation and the Burnett Mary Regional Group.
For over 20 years, Elke has supported dairy RD&E in Queensland, with multiple on-farm projects being located on their farm. Elke has several qualifications including a Bachelor of Business, Diploma of Human Resource Management and Cert IV in Training and Assessment. She is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course and a Justice of the Peace.
Elke Joined the Board in 2022.
Mark is the acting Team Leader Dairy within the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Mark was also a director on the Australian Brangus Cattle Association between 2008 and 2014. In his past role with the University Queensland as the Senior Farm Unit Manager, he served on multiple committees including the Campus Executive Committee and Dairy Management Committee.
Mark brings senior experience across a range of project management and dairy technical disciplines, particularly regarding the design and implementation of feedbase and animal research and development trials, and the extension of their findings. He is a member of the farm benchmarking (QDAS) project team and has provided operational and strategic advice for the University of Queensland Gatton Research Dairy.
Mark has a Bachelor of Applied Science and Diploma in Animal Technology.
Mark joined the Board in 2022.
South East Queensland
Mid North Coast, New South Wales
Heath Cook is a Farmer Director from Northern NSW. He entered the dairy industry in 2007 after purchasing an 80 hectare dairy farm near Dorrigo, NSW milking 60 cows. This business has now grown to 400 hectares, supporting 400 cows in a batch calving system.
Throughout his career, Heath has sat on numerous boards and committees which has given him critical insight into good governance.
Heath was elected to the Subtropical Dairy Board in 2023 with a wide range of experience across industry boards and committees including Australian Dairy Farmers and Norco Co-operative Limited. He holds a number of regionally based industry and community positions on the Mid North Coast.