Donald Coles is the Executive Chairman and International Seed Sales Manager of Valley Seeds. He has been working at the company since 1980, starting just a few years after the company was founded in 1972 by his father Jim Coles. Donald’s first roles in the business were as seed production and processing manager and he then took on a marketing role selling lawn and pasture seed to retailers in the western suburbs of Melbourne.
Donald says he is proud of the Valley Seeds vision, which was in place from the start. “Even in its early years, Valley Seeds was breeding new grasses to help our customers improve their pastures. This was well before Plant Breeders rights were legislated and well before any other private breeder in Australia was doing this.”
From the start, Donald has held industry office-bearing roles. These roles provide opportunities to influence federal policy and structural change.
“Through these roles, I have learned a great deal from my peers in the industry but never more than in my current role as the President of the International Seed Federation.”
An example of the work done in these roles is the Pasture Trials Network which partners MLA and the Dairy Corporation, and its predecessor APPEC. “These trials act as a screening tool for farmers and agronomists to select pasture varieties that are trialled independently and under a robust scientific process.”