Grain growers in the western cropping region are set to benefit from the diversity in expertise, knowledge and experience that has been achieved with the appointment of members of the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) Western Regional Panel for the next two years.
The Panel comprises three new members whose fresh insights and differing backgrounds will complement the perspectives and skills set of those members who have been re-appointed for another term.
In announcing the appointments, GRDC chairman John Woods said the new Panel was well equipped to serve the interests of grain growers in Western Australia.
“A key strength of the GRDC, the Regional Panels play a critical advisory and strategic role in informing GRDC investments in research, development and extension (RD&E) to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers,” Mr Woods said.
“I congratulate members of the Western Regional Panel on their appointment for the coming two-year term and look forward to working alongside them as they contribute to shaping our grains RD&E investments.”
Mr Woods said Dunn Rock grower Peter Roberts would continue as GRDC Western Panel Chairman and would continue his focus on maintaining a high level of engagement with the Western Australian grains industry and ensuring GRDC investments were focused on delivering enduring profitability to growers.
“The GRDC’s regional panels play a key role in ensuring grower concerns and priorities are fed into the GRDC so that any issues or RD&E gaps are addressed,” Mr Woods said.
“Members of the Western Regional Panel have diverse experience and expertise and represent a broad cross-section of the grains industry, including growers, researchers, consultants and advisers.”
Mr Roberts welcomed incoming members Fiona Gibson, a Mingenew grower and applied economist, agronomist Michael Lamond, and Binnu grower Rohan Ford.
“The three new panel members join those who had been reappointed for another term – agronomic and agribusiness advisor Chris Wilkins, Ravensthorpe grower Andy Duncan, Mingenew grower Darrin Lee, Munglinup grower Gemma Walker, Merredin grower Jules Alvaro and wheat geneticist Greg Rebetzke from CSIRO.”
Dr Gibson is an applied economist with The University of Western Australia’s School of Agriculture and Environment and is a grower at her family’s 6000 hectare crop and livestock operation in Mingenew.
She is an active member of the Mingenew Irwin Group and the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, and sits on the Board of Management for the Mingenew Midwest Expo.
Mr Lamond is an experienced agronomist who started his career in discovery and innovation in areas including herbicide resistance, herbicide systems with minimum tillage, legume rotations, pasture systems, soil acidity and crop variety evaluation.
He has worked in the private sector for most of this time and has run or been a partner in contract research organisations.
Mr Ford farms east of Binnu, producing wheat, lupins and canola, and is passionate about investigating and working with the soil, which he sees as his family’s most important farm asset.
He has used Control Traffic Farming (CTF) methods for more than 15 years and implements practices including integrated weed management and variable rate technology.
Mr Roberts welcomed the new appointments and paid tribute to outgoing panellists Mingenew grower Paul Kelly, agronomy and farming systems specialist, Mike Ewing, and agricultural consultant, Bill Ryan.
“These outgoing panellists, who each have decades of industry experience, made an outstanding contribution to the panel over a several years, going above and beyond to serve the interests of WA growers,” he said.
“I thank them for their excellent work and wish them the best in their future endeavours.”
GRDC’s regional panels in the northern (NSW and Queensland), southern (South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania) and western (Western Australia) regions are renewed every two years.