THE Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Board has announced the new panel members who will represent the interests of growers in the northern, southern and western farming regions for the next two years.
The Northern Panel, representing New South Wales and Queensland, comprises three new and six returning members.
Appointed to the Northern Panel for the first time are Chris Clyne, a grower from Moree; rural banker Adam Tomlinson from Orange; and researcher Georgina Pengilley from Tamworth.
In welcoming the incoming members, GRDC Northern Panel chair John Minogue said it was also timely to recognise the contribution of outgoing members, some of whom had served multiple terms.
“We say farewell to Tony Hamilton formerly of Forbes, Roger Bolte from West Wyalong and Andrew McFadyen from Lake Cargelligo, who have all made outstanding contributions to the grains industry through their involvement with the Panel,” Mr Minogue said.
The returning panellists are Arthur Gearon, a grower from Chinchilla; research pathologist and private consultant Jo White; Parkes district grower Bruce Watson; Riverina district grower Roy Hamilton; Liverpool Plains senior agronomist Peter McKenzie; central Queensland senior agronomist Graham Spackman; and GRDC’s acting general manager, crop protection, biosecurity and regulation, Ken Young; while NSW grower and agricultural consultant John Minogue will continue as chair.
One of the first commitments of the new Northern Panel will be the annual GRDC spring tour in mid-September.
While this tour traditionally involves travelling to meet with regional growers, advisers and researchers, COVID-19 restrictions mean the tour will be held virtually this year with opportunities for stakeholders throughout Queensland and NSW to liaise online with Northern Panel members.
The interests of grain growers in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania will be represented by a Southern Panel which comprises four new members who join several members who have been re-appointed for another term.
Appointed to the Southern Panel for the first time are research agronomist Andrew Ware, from Port Lincoln on SA’s Eyre Peninsula; consultant and agricultural extension specialist Pru Cook, from Dimboola in Victoria’s Wimmera; Michelle Watt, the Adrienne Clarke chair of botany at the University of Melbourne; and grain grower Michael Treloar, from Cummins on Eyre Peninsula.
Southern Panel chair John Bennett recognised the contribution of outgoing panel members: Peter Kuhlmann, a grower from Mudamuckla on SA’s west coast; Mike McLaughlin (former deputy chair), a researcher with the University of Adelaide; Fiona Marshall, a grower from Mulwala in NSW; and Richard Murdoch, a grower from Warooka on SA’s Yorke Peninsula.
The new Southern Panel comprises: chair John Bennett, grower from Lawloit (Vic); deputy chair Kate Wilson, grower/agronomist from Hopetoun (Vic); Michael Chilvers, grower from Nile (Tas); Jon Midwood, consultant from Inverleigh (Vic); Lou Flohr, agronomist/grower from Lameroo (SA); Andrew Russell, grower from Rutherglen (Vic); Pru Cook, consultant from Dimboola (Vic); Andrew Ware, research agronomist from Port Lincoln (SA); Michelle Watt, scientist from Melbourne (Vic); Michael Treloar, grower from Cummins (SA).
GRDC’s general manager, genetic and enabling technologies, Nicole Jensen, is the GRDC executive representative on the Southern Panel.
The western cropping region will be represented by a new Western Panel which comprises six new members who join returning members re-appointed for another term.
Appointed to the Western Panel for the first time are Calingiri grower Suzanne Woods; Wickepin grower Gary Lang; research and development consultant and adviser John Blake; AgriStart managing director Natasha Ayers; CBH Group’s Richard Williams; and InterGrain wheat breeder Daniel Mullan.
GRDC Western Panel chair Darrin Lee paid tribute to the contributions made by outgoing panellists Munglinup grower Gemma Walker; Mingenew grower and economist Fiona Dempster; partner in a family farm at West River, Andy Duncan; CSIRO wheat geneticist Greg Rebetzke; and research agronomist Michael Lamond.
The returning panellists are Jules Alvaro (deputy chair), a Merredin grower; Coorow grower and Summit Fertilizers area manager Juliet McDonald; and Binnu grower Rohan Ford.
Mingenew/Dongara grower Darrin Lee is continuing as chair. GRDC general manager applied RD&E Peter Carberry is the GRDC’s representative on the Western Panel.
Diversity of insights
GRDC chair John Woods said the panels’ new members brought a diversity of insights and backgrounds which would complement the perspectives and skill sets of returned members.
Mr Woods said the regional panel system helped ensure that GRDC’s research, development and extension (RD&E) investments delivered gains in profitability to Australian grain growers by providing advice on GRDC investments.
The new Panels will also assist in identifying and prioritising local, regional and national grains industry issues.
“The three Panels play an important role in sourcing feedback from growers and industry about regional production constraints, as well as opportunities, and bringing that information back to the GRDC to help guide investment direction.”
In addition, the Panels interact closely with the GRDC’s Grower Network, farming systems groups, growers, agronomists, advisers, agribusiness and other industry stakeholders in their respective regions.