Hailing from a dairy farm on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria’s south-east, Susan did not have a typical introduction to the grains industry.
Susan has a background in communications, having worked for the Burnet Institute in Melbourne. The Burnet is Australia's largest virology and communicable disease research institute, and her experience in the field of medical research piqued her interest in the research and development sector.
In 2008, the GRDC sponsored Susan’s participation in the Australian Rural Leadership Program, which delivered 60 days training over 18 months and culminated in a study trip to India. She is also a graduate of the Wimmera Leadership Program, and in 2010 took on the role of chairman of the board of Leadership Wimmera. Susan holds a Masters in communications and Diploma in corporate governance.
Susan also works part-time for the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) as a communications manager in the Agriculture Research division, as well as being heavily involved in her family business, Yellow Grain, based just outside of Horsham. Yellow Grain is a dryland, mixed cropping enterprise producing cereals, pulses and oilseeds.
“As a grower I have an understanding of the practical ramifications of issues facing the grains industry, and working in research and development with the DEPI gives me an insight into the whole-of-industry approach to managing these issues,” she says.
“I believe the grains industry is an innovative and exciting industry to be a part of now and into the future. As growers we have unprecedented access to technology and markets that allows us to increase the productivity and profitability of our enterprise.”
Susan says the need to foster and build skills and capacity within the grains industry is a serious issue for the sector, whose growth and progress is very much dependent on the people working within it.
“Some of the other most important issues include herbicide resistance which is about long term sustainability, and, nitrogen management which is about short term profitability. GRDC has some strategies in development to ensure those issues are well addressed for the future.
“GRDC also supports world-class research with direct benefit to growers, but it’s also important to engage and communicate the content and value of that research to the growers.
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