The Agricultural Business Research Institute
The Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI) is located at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW, Australia.
ABRI is proudly recognised as a leading provider of innovative agribusiness products, services, and technology solutions on a global scale.
With over 50 years’ experience specialising in services for the domestic and international livestock industries, the highly skilled team use their experience and expertise to provide industry specific products and services to their global clients.
Our staff have the capacity, ability, and desire to service clients where there is rapid change or high demand for agribusiness technology solutions, which will deliver benefits to stakeholders, business and industry.
Our Board of Directors
Our dedicated management team
Hugh has a Veterinary Science degree from Sydney University and is Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland. He has a high level of corporate experience as a Director of Australian Wool Innovation, a board member of the Australian Sheep Industry Co-operative Research Centre, Chairman of UNE Rural Properties, Director and CEO of Australasian Rural Investments Pty Ltd and Hugh remains Chairman of Australian Farmers Fighting Fund (AFFF).
Hugh’s focus at ABRI is to ensure the connection between ABRI and the end users of our services, primarily breeders and breed societies, remains strong. Hugh is also keen to explore how the expertise and experience developed by ABRI over the last 50 years can be further used to help livestock industries throughout the world.
Chief Operating Officer (Currently on Extended Leave)
In 2011 Steve was promoted to manager of ABRI’s flagship division, the International Beef Recording Scheme and in 2015 he was appointed Chief Operating Officer. For nine years from 2009, Steve was Executive Director of the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association.
Steve’s primary role at ABRI is responsibility for ABRI’s services with beef breed associations and other corporate breeding groups from within Australia and overseas. His primary objective is ensuring the provision of efficient and effective service delivery to clients. The role includes developing contractual and financial arrangements and the management of the personnel delivering the BREEDPLAN service and associated extension activities.
Chief Product and Innovation Officer
Chief Technical Officer
Customer Service Manager
Manager, Breed Secretariat, Office & HR
A local New England resident, Trish has valuable rural knowledge from her family's cattle properties to the east of Armidale.
As manager of the Breed Secretariat team, Trish has extensive knowledge of ABRI and it’s clients. In this role, Trish ensures the smooth running of societies and the tasks required by our secretariat teams.
Manager, Dairy Express
Fiona is passionate about contributing to the improved outcomes of rural communities, businesses, and agricultural industries. Fiona also keeps herself busy as a business partner for a farming enterprise, which currently runs beef cattle.
Manager, IT Systems
Breed Registry Product Manager
ABRI’s humble beginnings date back to July of 1970, with ABRI’s founder, the late Dr Arthur Rickards OAM, and his colleagues setting out to establish a technology transfer unit at UNE. At the time this was considered an ambitious move, but with the pioneering spirit of Dr Rickards, ABRI was established.
Dr Rickards had initially worked as officer in charge at the UNE Farm Management Service Centre (FMSC), which was run between 1965 and 1970. The FMSC provided comparative analysis services of farm records to farm management and consulting professions. Dr Rickards was instrumental in extending the centre’s work of forward planning using linear programming techniques.
Dr Rickards’ mission for ABRI was to establish a national agribusiness service which would facilitate a connection between the technological advancements being developed by the university and the technology being used within agricultural and rural industries. Over 50 years later, this ambitious mission has led to ABRI’s position as a world leader in agricultural software solutions.
One of the first major software advancements by ABRI in 1985, involved using an advanced system of genetic evaluation of beef cattle that was developed by UNE’s Animal Genetics Breeding Unit (AGBU). ABRI gave the technique the product name of BREEDPLAN, and together with AGBU, developed a BREEDPLAN suite of genetic evaluation software.
In the early days of BREEDPLAN’s development Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) acknowledged its potential and began providing considerable support and investment for its growth. The ongoing support from MLA is a testament to BREEDPLAN’s continued success and importance in the industry.
Currently BREEDPLAN provides approximately 63 separate genetic evaluations for 40 beef cattle breeds and 14 million animals, across 14 countries. In addition to this, ABRI also have an expansive range of custom software solutions for other livestock, including dairy cattle, sheep, goats, and horses.
ABRI’s current managing director, Mr Hugh Nivison, was appointed to the role in 2015. His vision for ABRI is to ensure that the knowledge and expertise of the past continues to move forward with new technological advancements which will benefit ABRI's clients and the wider livestock industries.