Global Agriculture

New GRDC Southern Panel to represent grain growers

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

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

Appointed to the Southern Region Panel for the first time are: well-known South Australian agricultural industry leader and adviser Neil Fisher; research scientist and first-generation grower Patricia Flynn from Victoria; and Tasmanian organic farmer and former young farmer of the year Peter Damen.

GRDC Chair and Goondiwindi grain grower John Woods says 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 this year, and this reflects the industry-wide value and respect placed on the GRDC Regional Panel system,” he says.

“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 needs and priorities.”

Mr Woods says 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,” Mr Woods says.

In welcoming the incoming members, GRDC Southern Panel Chair and Rutherglen grain grower Andrew Russell says it was also timely to recognise the enormous contribution of outgoing members, some of whom had served multiple terms.

“We say farewell to Lou Flohr, Jon Midwood and Simon Burgess who have all made outstanding contributions to the grains industry through their involvement with the GRDC Southern Region Panel,” Mr Russell says.

“On behalf of GRDC I would like to thank them for their energy, passion and commitment to ensuring they accurately and effectively represented the views and priorities of growers across the three states.”

The returning panellists are: Dimboola grain grower and extension specialist Prudence Cook; Birchip grain grower Tim McClelland; South Australian agro-ecologist and grain grower Ruth Sommerville from Burra; Port Lincoln research agronomist Andrew Ware; Cummins grain grower Michael Treloar; and Melbourne-based researcher Michelle Watt. Mr Russell 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 southern region.

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