As leader of northern dryland cropping systems with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), an active member of numerous industry bodies and a passionate advocate for helping growers improve farm efficiency, Loretta Serafin is a familiar face to growers in the northern grain belt.
She brings well-honed agronomic skills and an extensive understanding of the industry’s opportunities and challenges to the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) northern panel which she has been reappointed to for a third term.
She says working as an agronomist for 16 years has given her the perspective and understanding to help drive the strategy for investment of RD&E in the northern grains region.
“I see a range of challenges and opportunities for the grains industry, both through my work with the NSW Department of Primary Industries in Tamworth and my grain industry networks,” she said.
“Some of the opportunity is around trying to maximise the benefits of our current farming systems, linking local information with regional information, expanding onto a national level and then trying to interact more globally with the international industry to benefit us all.
“But by pushing our farming systems harder and harder, we also see challenges like herbicide resistance and managing the nutrition of our crops so that we’re not only improving our production but also maintaining our soil health.”
Ms Serafin considers grains industry capacity another hot topic and said the expansion of skill sets and accumulation of new ideas were always forefront in her mind.
“Certainly from the research side of things we are always looking for new researchers and scientists who are going to contribute to the industry’s future and potentially be at the forefront of what could be the next big step for grains,” she said.
“In the northern region we have a huge range of crops both summer and winter which make up a very important part of our farming system. This diversity needs to be reflected in our research priorities now and going forward to improve profitability and sustainability on farm.
“As a northern panel member, my role is to be the conduit between growers and researchers, but we are also trying to assimilate what the research priorities are, identify the issues we need to react to immediately and what the issues will be going into the future.
“This will enable us to actually build a portfolio where we are able to respond to emerging new issues.
“I see it as incredibly important to build a significant block of research data to support us long term and secure the future viability of our industry.”
To hear Ms Serafin discussing her role as a newly reappointed northern panel member, follow this link to the GRDC YouTube channel.
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Ellen McNamara, Senior Consultant Cox Inall Communications
0429 897 129