Farewell to agribusiness mentor

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Jenne BrammerCountryman
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AAAC WA president Tim Johnston, left, with AAAC WA Outlook conference keynote speaker Emily French, of ConsiliAgra, and GRDC western panellist Chris Wilkins, who spoke at Outlook about grains research and development.
Camera IconAAAC WA president Tim Johnston, left, with AAAC WA Outlook conference keynote speaker Emily French, of ConsiliAgra, and GRDC western panellist Chris Wilkins, who spoke at Outlook about grains research and development. Credit: Countryman

Australian Association of Agricultural Consultants WA president Tim Johnston paid tribute to the late David Bedbrook in his opening remarks at last week’s annual AAAC Outlook conference.

Mr Bedbrook, a prominent agriculture consultant, was a former president of the AAAC and had been awarded a fellowship to the organisation. He passed away recently.

Mr Johnston said the AAAC’s strategy involved providing mentors for young members coming into the association, supporting them in their profession and providing an introduction to the AAAC.

“That takes me back to when I first started as a member of AAAC, I was very fortunate to have a wonderful mentor who subsequently became a business partner of mine — David Bedbrook,” Mr Johnston said.

“In the late 1980s when I joined the AAAC, David helped me not only with AAAC but with any aspect of my work. He would freely offer his advice and counsel.

“For the past 35 years, David has been the best possible consultant to the people that matter the most — his clients.

“But he was much more than just a good consultant. David was tireless in his contribution to both consulting and to the wider industry.”

Mr Bedbrook graduated from UWA with a Bachelor of Science in 1970, but he never stopped educating himself, Mr Johnston said.

This was not just through AAAC professional development, but also by completing an advanced management program at UWA and a diploma in financial planning.

He was a licensed valuer and a graduate from the Institute of Company Directors.

He started his working life in the Agriculture Department at Kununurra, worked for R&I Bank in Manjimup, then became a partner of PlanFarm at Wongan Hills for 10 years. He moved to Perth in the 1980s and became a pre-eminent consultant.

“David knew more about corporate farming in WA than anyone else I had ever met. He managed a number of farming properties over 25 years, including a notable one that grew to a size of approximately 40,000ha,” Mr Johnston said.

He will be remembered also for his advocacy on behalf of his clients, his profession and agriculture in general. He was made a fellow of the AAAC and served on many industry boards, including the Wheat Export Authority and Export Wheat Association.

“David was an outstanding contributor to the industry, to the AAAC and he was a wonderful mentor,” he said.

“If we only did half as much as David Bedbrook did, then the industry will continue to change, flourish and be the best it can.”

Mr Johnston said the AAAC was well placed to foster more young consultants who would also be strong advocates for their clients and the industry.

He said the AAAC would continue to focus on professional development of its members, the promotion of the profession and also provide strong networking opportunities.

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