Growers urged to “be inspired” and join GRDC panel

Author: Sarah Jeffrey | Date: 25 May 2015

Image of Will Martel, GRDC Northern Panellist.

“Motivating and inspirational” is how Wellington grain grower Will Martel, Muronbong Park, describes his time on the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) northern panel.

Mr Martel has spent the past four years as a member of the northern panel and said he has relished the opportunity to interact with some of Australia’s leading researchers, agronomists, consultants and like-minded growers.

“The experience has been extremely rewarding from both a personal and professional perspective,” he said.

“It has enabled me to go beyond the farm gate and interact with some of the best scientists in Australia, key research personnel and progressive, positive growers.

“It has given me a new perspective on production opportunities and challenges facing the Australian grains industry – a perspective that would be difficult to gain if I hadn’t gone outside my own farm business.”

He encourages other industry representatives to seize the opportunity to apply for positions on the panel, with the GRDC recently calling for applications.

The northern panel selection will draw from an area spanning Queensland as well all production areas in New South Wales following the GRDC’s recent revision of its northern region boundary which now stretches from the NSW/Victorian border to Central Queensland.

Successful applicants will take up the part-time positions from September 1, 2015 and appointments will initially be for two years.

“While it is a job and requires a time commitment, the experience and knowledge you gain is invaluable,” Mr Martel said.

“I have found it easy to incorporate into my farming schedule as the commitments are well planned in advance.”

The northern panel provides an effective link between growers, the research community and GRDC and plays an important advisory and strategic role in GRDC investments across the research, development and extension spectrum.

“One of the key roles the panel is to ensure that industry levies are directed into practical research, development and extension (RD&E) projects that have the capacity to deliver productivity and profitability gains to growers,” Mr Martel said.

“Being involved in the process of refining and prioritising the industry’s RD&E needs is both exciting and challenging and is an extremely rewarding way of contributing to the future of our industry.”

Applications for northern regional panel positions are open until Tuesday, June 9, 2015. Each panel is comprised of grain growers, agribusiness practitioners, scientists and the GRDC’s executive managers, with provision for other industry experts to participate as appropriate.

Applications are invited from candidates with skills and experience including extensive knowledge of the Australian grains industry and excellent communication skills.

The current northern panel includes chairman James Clark; deputy chair John Sheppard; growers Rob Taylor, Macalister, Keith Harris, Quirindi and Mr Martel; grower and agronomist Kelly Becker, Theodore; senior agronomists Loretta Serafin, Tamworth, Penny Heuston, Warren, Jules Dixon, Avalon and Jack Williamson, Goondiwindi; and GRDC executive manager commercial Dr Steve Thomas.

Further information on the regional panel application process is available on the GRDC website or by contacting GRDC executive manager regional grower services Stuart Kearns on 02 6166 4500 or via


Caption: Wellington grain grower Will Martel says his time on the GRDC northern panel has been “motivating and inspirational.

Contact Details

For Interviews

Will Martel, GRDC Northern Panellist, Wellington NSW
0427 466 245


Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

Region North