Global Agriculture

New GRDC Northern Panel to represent grain growers

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22 July 2023, AU: New South Wales and Queensland grain growers will be represented by a new-look Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Northern Region Panel which has been appointed for the next two years.

The GRDC Board has announced the panel, which comprises four new and five returning members, who together will help guide priorities for research, development and extension (RD&E) investments to deliver enduring profitability to grain growers.

Appointed to the Northern Region Panel for the first time are: Belinda Chase, an agronomist from Central Queensland; agronomist and grain grower Sarah Ball from Blackville in NSW; agronomist Jo Weier from Mungindi on the Queensland/NSW border; and well-known industry identity and grain grower Murray Scholz from southern NSW.

GRDC Chair John Woods said the incoming panel members brought a diversity of skillsets and knowledge which would complement the experience of returning members.

“The GRDC Board was highly impressed with the calibre of applicants, and this reflects the industry-wide value and respect placed on the GRDC Regional Panel system.

“What we were looking for was a balance of expertise and experience with a geographic spread that represented the grains industry and could offer considered and insightful advice on industry needs and priorities.”

Mr Woods said the GRDC Regional Panel system played a critical role identifying and prioritising local, regional and national grains industry issues informed by their industry networks and firsthand understanding.

“We are really confident that we have landed with a panel that will help GRDC continue to deliver innovative, and targeted, as well as strategic and transformational RD&E investments,” he said.

In welcoming the incoming members, GRDC Northern Panel Chair and Chinchilla grain grower Arthur Gearon said it was also timely to recognise the enormous contribution of outgoing members, some of whom had served multiple terms.

“We say farewell to agronomist Pete McKenzie from the Liverpool Plains; agronomist Graham Spackman from Central Queensland and rural financial expert Adam Tomlinson from Orange in NSW, who have all made outstanding contributions to the grains industry through their involvement with the GRDC Northern Region Panel,” Mr Gearon said.

“On behalf of GRDC I would like to thank them for the commitment, invaluable insights and the enthusiasm they brought to their roles. They devoted significant time and effort to representing the views, issues and research priorities of NSW and Queensland growers and should be proud of what they achieved.”

The returning panellists are West Wyalong grower and deputy Chair Roger Bolte; Parkes district grower Bruce Watson; Riverina district grower Roy Hamilton; NSW researcher Georgina Pengilley; and Queensland agronomy engineer Fernanda Dreccer. Mr Gearon will continue as Chair.

One of the first commitments of the new Panel will be the annual GRDC spring tour. This tour involves travelling to meet with regional growers, advisers and researchers, to understand the opportunities and constraints facing different areas of the northern region.

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