As a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Western Regional Panel member, Paul Kelly has enjoyed a personally rewarding experience promoting innovation within the Australian grains industry.
Mr Kelly, who has been farming for 40 years at Mingenew in the Mid West region of Western Australia, said there was a lot to be gained from being on the panel.
“I see this role as a valuable way to contribute to the Australian grains industry and play a part in its future direction,” he said.
“It’s fulfilling to be able to use my own experience in farming and networking and take on board the ideas of my peers, and help turn them into something that will benefit the entire industry.”
Photo: Paul Kelly has enjoyed the opportunity to represent his industry as a GRDC western regional panellist.
Mr Kelly and his wife Sue farm 3100 hectares just 30 kilometres from the coast and 400 km north of Perth. With average annual rainfall of 450 millimetres, water is plentiful in most seasons and they are able to grow a variety of crops including wheat, lupins, canola and coriander.
Beyond the paddock Mr Kelly’s life is well-spent investing in personal and professional development as a member of the Western Regional Panel, for what is now his fifth year.
Panel members' combined skills and experience in growing, researching, processing grain and farm business management are used to identify and prioritise RD&E investments in the grains industry at a local, regional and national level.
Mr Kelly is also a member of the Mingenew-Irwin Group, and before his panel service he was vice chairman of this grower group.
He said the GRDC Western Regional Panel comprised a mix of individuals with different skills and capabilities and included growers, researchers and consultants.
We enjoy just the right mix of contributors, which is exactly why we are able to function so well as a group,” Mr Kelly said.
“I’d recommend joining the panel to anyone who has the opportunity to do so.
“The information you get as a result of being on the panel is so beneficial, I believe you inherently become a better farmer.”
“It’s a fantastic way to create friendships across Australia with like-minded people and to remain well informed about the Australian grain industry.”
The panel has been focusing on important regional issues such as non-wetting soils, soil acidity, frost and weeds, the last of which is of particular ongoing concern, according to Mr Kelly.
“Weeds are an ongoing issue in any farming enterprise, and they are something we are continuing to invest in,” he said.
“The GRDC is also investing $16.8 million over the next four years into the area of frost under its National Frost Initiative, which is expected to have an impact on this issue on a long-term basis.
“Certainly, levies are being well-spent in areas that truly need attention.”
For the past four years, a GRDC initiative called Regional Cropping Solutions Networks (RCSN) has been providing essential linkages between growers, farming systems groups, agribusiness and researchers.
In Mr Kelly’s view, it has been another important factor in the success of the Western Regional Panel.
The GRDC is one of the world’s leading grains research organisations, responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing RD&E to deliver improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry.
Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827
Paul Kelly, GRDC Western Regional Panel
0427 275 022