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Executive & Staff

Robin Cruikshank

Robin has been involved with the Leucaena industry and The Leucaena Network for more than 20 years, attending the inaugural meeting of the Network in Biloela in 1999.  


Robin presided over the Network’s activities for several years and remains a very active Executive Member.  


Robin and his wife Jenny had 500 acres of Leucana on their property at Thangool in Central Queensland.  However, at nearly 70 years of age, Robin’s body was telling him to slow down so he and Jenny sold their Thangool property and ‘retired’ to 140 acres just outside of Yeppoon.  


Robin will now be kept busy developing this block - fencing, ridding it of lantana and clearing cyclone debris, aiming to plant Leucaena and coastal grasses in his retirement. 


'Ballara' Bondoola

Central Queensland

M: 0400985 905

Brett Blennerhassett
Vice President
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Brett was born into agriculture with his grazier grandfather owning a butcher shop in El Arish and Brett’s father being a grazier and banana farmer at Bingil Bay.  


Brett grew up farming bananas and breeding and fattening cattle for the family owned butcher shop and he then went on to become a butcher/slaughterman by trade.  He continued to work on the family properties and once qualified, with his father and brother, established a butcher shop and abattoir at Bingil Bay.


The family transitioned out of bananas and the butcher shop in 2008 to concentrate on cattle breeding and wholesaling meat and Brett and his wife Theresa now concentrate on breeding and backgrounding cattle for supply to Brett’s brother Grant’s Bingil Bay abattoir.


Brett has been a part of The Network’s Redlands for the Regions project and the current Northern Australian Value Chain PDS.  Goshen currently has 620 acres of Redlands Leucaena and Brett’s five year plan is to increase Goshen’s Leucaena plantings by 500 acres per year.  Goshen is also one of the Northern Beef Genomics trial sites.  

'Goshen Station' Mt Garnet
North Queensland
M: 0427 904 517

John McLaughlin
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John McLaughlin is a grazing extension officer based out of Georgetown, in far North Queensland. Coordinating the Grazing Programs for the local NRM organisation in the region, he works closely with producers on extensive beef operations in the gulf.


John has a passion for animal production and sustainable land management, with a strong tertiary background in various scientific disciplines.


Being new to The Leucaena Network, John is excited about its prospects for improving the productivity of grazing businesses whilst having potential benefits for key environmental issues such as those related to climate change.


North Queensland

M: 0411 294 331

Hugh Rea
Immediate Past President

Hugh along with his wife Katie and 4 boys live at Rubina near Dingo in Central Queensland where they look after the southern part of the family partnership grazing business. The family run a commercial Droughtmaster herd over five properties and target the Jap Ox market with surplus females fattened and sold direct to works.

In 2012, they were successful with the planting of 95 ha of Wondergraze which encouraged them to purchase the equipment required to plant more in the future without having the need for contractors.  In 2014, 250 ha of Leucaena was planted and in 2018 a further 320 ha. These last 2 paddocks were planted during very dry periods, however the plants have hung in there and the paddocks are on their way to being significantly more productive than before helping to meet our goal of +300kg carcases at 2 years of age.

Apart from Hugh’s involvement with TLN he and Katie provide support to a number of other local community groups around Dingo including the Rural Fire Brigade, Dingo State School P&C and bus committee.

'Rubina' Dingo
Central Queensland
P:  07 4935 8526
M: 0429 853 457

Craig Antonio 
Executive Member

Craig is a lifelong Millmerran boy and farmer, turned cattleman who owns and manages “Borambil’ with his wife Lexie and their three girls.


Craig runs predominantly Angus breeders and purchased cattle across their three breeding and one finishing properties.  


Craig has been an avid supporter of Leucaena since he first planted it more than 15 years ago and the couple currently have plantings of 400ha Leucaena with plans to increase this with an additional 1500ha.  Craig’s initial plantings were Cunningham and Tarramba and he now also grows Wondergraze. 

Stock on ‘Borambil’ are rotational grazed with high stocking rates and weight gains of up to 1.6kg/day have been achieved.  Craig has been involved in The Leucanea Network since 2004 and served as President from 2009 to 2018.

'Borambil'  Millmerran  

Southern Queensland

P:   07 46954094

M: 0427 954 208

Michael Burgess
Executive Member

Michael is an independent consultant working with a Queensland nutritional advisory group and for a business organisation promoting animal feed commodities to the cattle industry.  


Michael brings to the Network an extensive experience in all sectors of agriculture in Australia and overseas.


Michael was the previous Executive Officer for the Leucaena Network and is an enthusiastically about the adoption and expansion of Leucaena across the Northern cattle industry.


Cotton Tree


M:0490 142 408

Stuart Buck
Executive Member

Stuart Buck holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agronomy and post graduate qualifications in Rural Systems Management from the University of Queensland.


He has over 25 years of crop and pasture agronomy experience both on-farm in commercial situations and in research and extension.


Stuart is passionate about improving the productivity and profitability of graziers across northern Australia, and has successfully worked with grain growers, beef producers, agricultural scientists, consultants and agri-business providers across Queensland, Northern New South Wales, Northern territory and Western Australia.


In his spare time, Stuart and family own and operate a small beef production business in central Queensland where cattle are breed and grown to various market specifications.

Senor Agronomist
DAF Rockhampton
P: 074843 2605

Nigel Tomkins
Executive Member

Nigel Tomkins manages the MLA Grass fed beef program. This portfolio or R&D and E&A activities covers both northern, southern systems and extends to the rangelands of Western Australia.


Before joining MLA in 2015 Nigel was a research scientist with CSIRO in Rockhampton and Townsville and managed projects across Queensland, The Northern Territory and Western Australia.


His publications extend across both scientific and industry journals and he maintains an active engagement in R&D activities in Australia and overseas.


As R&D program manager he is responsible for ensuring the delivery of MLA funded activities across universities, state agencies and commercial entities that deliver a profitable and increasingly productive beef industry.  He has had a long interest in Leucaena production systems and delivering R&D to industry that supports the productivity and methane mitigating potential of Leucaena for northern Australia.

Program Manager - Grass-fed Productivity


M:  0437632816 

Mark Harrison
Executive Member

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Mark Harrison is a biochemist with over twenty years of basic, applied, and commercial research experience. He is an Associate Professor at Queensland University of Technology and foundation member of the QUT Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy. Mark is the QUT representative on the North Australia Beef Research Council and provides consulting services to the Australian food and bio-industrial sector. Research in his group is focused on the conversion of agricultural wastes and residues into more valuable food, feed, fibre, fine chemical, and fuel products, and his current research projects include:

  • fibre modification to enhance digestibility in ruminants and functionality in non-ruminants

  • production of soluble sugar and prebiotic products from plant biomass

  • production of single cell protein using crop residues as substrates

  • isolation of natural plant products, bioactives, and nutraceuticals

  • biomass pretreatment chemistry

Associate Professor - Centre for Agriculture and Biochemistry


M: 0424272872

Bron Christensen
Executive Officer

Bron is a fourth generation Theodore, Central Queensland grazier, running a beef breeding operation with her husband. 


Bron has a background in agriculture, rural health and project management. 


Bron holds a Bachelor of Business and is a graduate of the ARLP and the AICD.  She is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Science - Regnerative Agriculture. 


Bron is passionate about the potential of Leucaena and the benefits to the Australian red meat industry. 

'Tatiara' Theodore
Central Queensland
M: 0488931691

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