A grain grower from Victoria’s western Wimmera region has been appointed the new Chair of the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) Southern Region Panel.
John Bennett, of Lawloit, will commence as the GRDC’s Southern Region Panel Chair from 1 September 2018, assuming the position that has been occupied by Keith Pengilley since 2013.
GRDC Board Chair John Woods congratulated Mr Bennett on his appointment and at the same time paid tribute to Mr Pengilley who is stepping down from Panel duties after seven years of diligent service.
“John is a highly-respected member of the agricultural community throughout the southern cropping region, and his rapport with growers, advisers, researchers, agribusiness and others within the grains industry is a tremendous asset for both the Panel and the GRDC more broadly,” Mr Woods said.
“Through his new role, John will be influential in his desire to see GRDC investments in research, development and extension (RD&E) that create resilient and sustainable farming systems that deliver more profit to growers and ultimately make agriculture an exciting career path for young people.”
A member of the GRDC Southern Region Panel since 2015, Mr Bennett, his wife Allison and family run a mixed farming operation across diverse soil types between Nhill and Kaniva in the west Wimmera. Their farming system is 70 to 80 percent cropping, comprising cereals, oilseeds, legumes and hay.
While announcing Mr Bennett’s appointment – for an initial two-year term – Mr Woods commended Mr Pengilley on his outstanding contribution to the Southern Panel, the GRDC and the grains industry over much of the past decade.
“Keith has been a leading figure in ensuring that issues of most importance to growers in the southern region and indeed nationally, are addressed through appropriate investments in RD&E that offer solutions to constraints and promote opportunities for profit growth,” Mr Woods said.
“Keith should be proud of the legacy he has created – he leaves behind a Southern Region Panel that is highly effective in identifying grower priorities and advising on targeted investments in RD&E. There would be very few growers throughout the Southern Region who have not directly benefited from his input and commitment to serving their best interests.”
Each of the GRDC’s three Region Panel Chairs assists the GRDC in meeting its purpose of investing in RD&E to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers, according to Mr Woods.
“The Panel Chairs play a crucial leadership role in ensuring that the Panel operates effectively. Their roles involve reporting to the GRDC National Panel and GRDC staff on regional issues and activities, they facilitate communication between the National and Region Panels and advise the GRDC on strategic investment priorities and proposals.
“Keith has been an outstanding advocate for growers and we look forward to working more closely with John as the new Chair of the Southern Panel.”
The GRDC’s Region Panels play a critical role in grower engagement, ground-truthing GRDC initiatives, and communicating outcomes of RD&E investments.