Mr David Crombie AM

Australia is well positioned to play a leadership role in addressing one of the great challenges for humanity – that of food security."

A recognised leader in the Australian agricultural sector, David Crombie AM has spent more than 40 years in agri-business and in the advocacy of progressive agricultural policies to empower producers to better manage their farm businesses.

“Within our region population is increasing with more mouths to feed and there is pressure on arable land and water. At the same time economic growth is changing the nature of food demand with the emergence of increasingly fragmented markets,” he said.

“This presents opportunities for Australian agriculture. We should concentrate our effort where we have a competitive advantage in the production of safe natural food and fibres which have supply chain integrity delivering into differentiated middle and upper-income market opportunities.”

Crombie’s family roots are in rural Queensland. He was educated in Brisbane where he attended The University of Queensland. His first job was with Gunn Rural Managment (GRM), a company managing beef cattle operations across northern Australia.

Today GRM (renamed Palladium) employs over 2500 professional staff worldwide and provides project management services delivering impact investment outcomes across agriculture, health services, education and capacity building in over 30 countries.

Throughout his career, Crombie has had leadership roles across a range of interests including President of the National Farmers Federation, Chair of Meat and Livestock Australia and Chair of the Australian Rural Leadership Programme. He was on the Boards of Grainco and Export Finance Insurance Corporation, and was a Commissioner of ACIAR.  He also served on the Board of Foodbank Qld and was President of Australian Rugby and President and Chairman of Queensland Rugby.

Crombie has continued a long association with UQ and is currently on the advisory board of UQ’s research institute the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) where he provides strategic advice on industry directions and research priorities.

“We have a responsibility to share road-tested production technologies with farmers throughout our region to increase production efficiency and reduce food waste,” he said.

“It is an exciting time to be engaged in agriculture and there will be new career opportunities emerging. Food production is our oldest industry, we are good at it and we have demonstrated our ability to adapt to changing circumstances.”

Crombie has received honours and awards including the 2017 Rabo Bank Award for Leadership in Agriculture in Australia and New Zealand. In 2014 he was awarded Member of the Order of Australia for services to the meat and livestock industry and support for social welfare, primary producers and sporting organisations.

Crombie has beef cattle and cropping operations in southern Queensland and enjoys mentoring students through UQ’s Business School, Emmanuel College and industry.

College affiliation

Emmanuel College (1962-1965)


Colleges' UQ Alumni Award
Image of David Crombie AM


Bachelor of Economics