Professor Robert van Barneveld is a pork industry expert and a registered animal nutritionist. He began his career in university faculties around Australia after receiving a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with First Class Honours and later a Phd from The University of Queensland, St Lucia. Robert has served on a number of industry and commercial boards within the industry and is now the Managing Director and CEO of Sunpork Group. One of Australia’s largest pork producers, Sunpork Group’s portfolio includes farms, abattoirs and food businesses.
In addition to his CEO role, Robert is committed to supporting non-for-profit organisations pertaining to autism. He is Deputy Chair of Autism CRC Limited and Chairman of Social Skills Training and he serves on the Board of Pork CRC and Roseworthy Piggery; he is also a Non Executive Director of Ridley Corporation, Australia’s largest stock feed manufacturer and a past President of the Australasian Pig Science Association. Robert is an Adjunct Professor at the University of New England’s School of Environmental and Rural Science.
Born in Brisbane to immigrant parents, Robert is the eldest of three sons. His mother settled in Australia from England via India and his father migrated from Holland in the 1950s. Robert was almost certainly destined for a career in agriculture. While his father worked for IBM, his mother grew up on a dairy farm and Robert spent much of his early years on his family’s hobby farm in the Beaudesert area. After completing high school, Robert enrolled in computer science and commerce but it was a degree he found “tremendously boring,” and it wasn’t long before he was “thrown out” of university for poor attendance and low grades. A change in direction saw him transition into agriculture, where he worked with pigs in the final two years of his undergraduate degree. He completed Honours and a Phd before beginning his career at the South Australian Research and Development Institute as a Research Officer. Robert lives in Brisbane with his family, in his downtime he enjoys playing guitar and escaping on holidays to France.