The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) western regional panel plays a crucial role in helping to secure the grains industry for generations to come, according to panellist Paul Kelly.
Mr Kelly, who joined the panel two years ago, said the research, development and extension (RD&E) funded by the GRDC was vital in making sure the industry progressed, so that it was attractive to the next generation of farmers.
“We are providing a platform for young people to get involved in agriculture, including young researchers, because we have to have a future,” he said.
“For agriculture to be an attractive option for young people entering the workforce it is vital that it's profitable, sustainable, safe and enjoyable.
“You can’t be sustainable if you’re not profitable.”
Mr Kelly owns and manages 3100ha at Mingenew and brings to the panel 35 years of industry experience, giving him an important grower’s perspective on issues.
“I have got a wide range of practical skills and the ability to communicate with people,” he said.
Mr Kelly said it was vital to have the right mix of people on the GRDC regional panels.
“The panels bring together a very diverse group of people from all around the region with a mix of skills. Diversity is the key to a great panel,” he said.
As part of his role, Mr Kelly aims to be a ‘sounding board’ for growers about GRDC activities.
“I am well known in the Mid West area and have been involved in many community organisations involved with agriculture,” he said.
“I bring to the panel a fair bit of experience, but I’m also a good average community person to represent growers on the GRDC western panel.
“As a producer, I’m medium sized; I’ve tried many different crops, failing at some but succeeding at others.”
Mr Kelly’s family came to the Mingenew area in 1950, and has farmed in his own right for the last 35 years with wife Sue and his three daughters.
“We own and manage a 3100ha property at Mingenew,” he said.
“The farm is in a 450mm rainfall area and our crops include wheat, lupins, canola, coriander, oats and some commercial seeds and pasture seeds. We also run a small Merino flock.”
With his children mature, Mr Kelly said the time had been right to take on the duties and high travel load of a GRDC panel member.
“It’s about balancing family and farm, but I’m now in a position to give my best to GRDC,” he said.
“I have been very fortunate to meet and mix with some of the most passionate and innovative farmers and people in agriculture in Australia,” he said.
“I am most proud of being part of a group of people that is making a significant contribution to Australian agriculture.”
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Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827