Queensland Department of Primary Industries agronomist Gillian Stewart is the winner of the 2000 TOPCROP leaders award.
Ms Stewart works with the Wallumbilla group near Roma, which won the Queensland TOPCROP state group award last year. Ms Stewart's prize is a three-week, all-expenses-paid study tour to South Africa and Egypt with Australian Grain, the major sponsors of the award. New Holland is also a sponsorship partner.
Ms Stewart, who has been involved with the TOPCROP program for more than eight years, said: "My primary focus has always been to enhance opportunities for graingrowers to interact, share knowledge and skills, to improve profitability and sustainable development of farming systems."
Her work with five TOPCROP groups shows graingrowers are using TOPCROP as a vital link for evaluating technology on a local level. Her experience, which includes working with 12 groups in the Victorian Mallee, has helped her develop a range of effective group practices, where 'the good, the bad and the ugly' aspects of farming systems can be openly discussed.
In the longer term, Ms Stewart believes the support network has a wider impact on rural communities. Producers are better able to deal with change in a 'proactive' manner.
TOPCROP chair Angus Woithe congratulated Ms Stewart on her award as the 2000 TOPCROP leader. "Gill is a wonderful example of a first-class group leader and field agronomist. She combines admirable technical and group skills and we are happy to see her win the second TOPCROP leaders award." Mr Woithe also acknowledged the strong support of Australian Grain, which made the award possible.
Contact: Mr Ross Cutler 03 5255 5614; Ms Gillian Stewart 07 4622 3930