New western panel appointed for GRDC

Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 16 Jul 2013

The western panel of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) starts a new two-year term this month with the recent appointment of the 10 person panel for 2013-15.

Dunn Rock farmer Peter Roberts will continue in his role as the western panel chairman for the new 2013-15 term and Department of Agriculture and Food WA scientist Dr Mike Ewing remains the panel’s deputy chairman.

In announcing the appointment, GRDC Chairman Keith Perrett said Mr Roberts would continue the strong level of GRDC engagement with the grains industry in WA.

“The role of the GRDC’s Regional Panels is critical in linking GRDC to growers, researchers, scientists, agribusiness and grower groups,” he said.

“The GRDC Board considers the appointment of members to the Regional Panels as crucial to the GRDC’s success.”

Mr Roberts agreed saying, “The GRDC panel process is very important in ensuring grower concerns, ideas and priorities are fed into GRDC and any issues or RD&E gaps are addressed.”

Well known WA agronomic and agribusiness advisor Chris Wilkins, based in Badgingarra, joins the panel as outgoing members Ralph Burnett and Narelle Moore step down.

Other panel members continuing into 2013-15 are Calingiri farmer and former accountant John Even, Agricultural Produce Commission chairman Dr Bill Ryan, Quairading farmer Shauna Stone, grains industry extension and capacity building specialist Susan Hall, Mingenew farmer Paul Kelly and Kellerberrin farmer Kit Leake.

GRDC acting executive manager Andreas Betzner replaces Vince Logan on the western panel in an executive role.

The panel system is a key strength of the GRDC, incorporating a cross-section of grain growers, scientists and industry representatives to feed regional priorities into the organisation’s board and assess funding proposals.

Members serve two year terms and provide a direct link between WA growers and the GRDC, ensuring there is a two-way flow of input into the organisation and feedback about latest research, development and extension results.

Mr Wilkins said he was excited to join this dynamic group in helping to shape GRDC’s research and extension activities to meet the needs of WA grain growers.

He has 22 years experience in WA’s agricultural industry, including offering farm business, agronomy, farming systems and crop protection advice through his Vision Agribusiness Services company for the past 15 years.

Mr Wilkins is also a director of one of the State’s leading agricultural consultancy businesses, Synergy Consulting WA, the deputy chairman of the Council of Grain Grower Organisations Ltd (COGGO) and a member of new WA Agriculture Minister Ken Baston’s Ministerial Agricultural Advisory Council.

Mr Roberts said Mr Wilkins bought an extensive knowledge of the WA grain production, processing, trade, marketing and research sectors to the western panel.

“Like all western panel members, he will be spending a lot of time in regional areas talking about research with growers, to ensure they see us as a partner in their business,” he said.

Mr Roberts paid tribute to outgoing western panel members Mr Burnett and Ms Moore, who he said had worked tirelessly during their terms to help ensure GRDC funds were channelled into addressing the R, D&E priorities of the region.

The GRDC is a statutory authority established to plan and invest in R&D for the Australian grains industry. Its primary objective is to support effective competition by Australian grain growers in global grain markets, through enhanced profitability and sustainability.

Contact Details

Melissa Williams
Cox Inall Communications

Region West