KATE O'Callaghan is the general manager of Southern Cotton, Australia’s newest cotton gin at Whitton, NSW.
The role at Southern Cotton has involved developing business processes, databases, websites, safety documents, production systems and grower documents for the new business, and leading a team of 11 permanent staff and 50 seasonal casuals.
She runs the production and logistics management for both ginning and cotton seed management as well as negotiating and liaising with growers.
She manages a budget with an annual turnover in excess of $25 million and is involved in strategic planning and board activities.
Kate is the secretary of the Murrumbidgee-Lachlan Cotton Growers Association and represents Southern Cotton at Cotton Australia.
She is passionate that locals and visitors understand the quality, sustainability and excellence of agriculture in the region and represents agriculture on the Riverina Regional Tourism board.
Kate’s career in agriculture began in 1986 after graduating from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (honours) and joining the Department of Agriculture in irrigated pasture and lucerne research.
From 1996 to 2006 Kate was the production agronomist with Novogen - a pharmaceutical company who grew red clover hay for hormone production.
From three growers in 1996 in the MIA to over 1200 hectares in NSW, Victoria, SA and New Zealand, the role involved grower liaison, quality and crop management.
In 2006 her career again changed direction as she took up the role of the safety, health and quality manager / acting operations manager at CopRice Feeds.
Over five years she lead the group to accreditation in HACCP, ISO and SQF as well as production planning and acting in the operations role, before accepting the challenge of Southern Cotton.