A passion for family farming and the need for practical paddock-ready research convinced central west New South Wales agronomist Penny Heuston to serve a third term on the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) northern region panel.
The Warren-based agronomist brings over 20 years of experience to the role, having worked with growers from Hermidale in north-west NSW to the high rainfall mixed farming regions around Gilgandra.
She has also served roles on the Grain Orana Alliance (GOA), a GRDC-funded grower solutions group, which aims to address short term production issues and develop farm-ready solutions.
“I have really enjoyed both my previous terms on the panel, mostly because of the interaction it gives me with the great minds of our industry, be it another panel member, GRDC staff, researchers or growers,” she said.
“I feel there is great opportunity and capacity in our grains industry, and this belief is constantly reinforced by the passion and enthusiasm I see amongst the young people coming back to family farms or entering commercial agriculture.
“I see one of my roles as harnessing that enthusiasm through taking new ideas back to researchers and the GRDC and then assisting in bringing information back to farms through extension. “
In terms of challenges for the northern region, Ms Heuston believes herbicide resistance and climate variability are among the greatest threats to the farming system status quo.
“Both these areas are significant for their potential impacts, but I do believe through RD&E we can address them effectively,” she said.
“For example, in terms of climatic challenges, while we can’t make it rain, we can establish better water efficiencies and breed more drought- tolerant varieties.”
In a broader sense the experienced agronomist said her role on the 11-member northern panel was multifaceted.
“I see myself as the face of the grower, helping to facilitate two-way communication to identify potential problems and solutions,” she said.
“I’m also keen to see the benefits on the ground through the application of sound research.”
To hear Ms Heuston discussing her role on the GRDC northern panel, go to the videos section of the GRDC YouTube channel
0428 474 845
Sarah Jeffrey, Cox Inall Communications
0418 152 859