Two new faces for GRDC's western panel

Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 01 Oct 2014

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has appointed two new members to its western regional panel.

In announcing the appointments, GRDC chairman Richard Clark said Darrin Lee, of Mingenew, and Gemma Walker, of Esperance, would strengthen the panel.

Darrin Lee

Caption: Darrin Lee is managing partner of a family farming business located 15km north-east of Mingenew.

“The GRDC board considers the appointment of members to the regional panels as crucial to the success of the GRDC,” Mr Clark said.

“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 and to assess funding proposals.”

GRDC western regional panel chairman Peter Roberts said the appointment of Mr Lee and Ms Walker had been made as a result of two casual vacancies, and would add to the broad range of skills already represented on the panel.

Mr Roberts said the panel process was crucial in ensuring that grower priorities were fed into the GRDC and that issues or research, development and extension (RD&E) gaps were addressed.

“The panel is focused on ensuring that all research is regionally targeted and provides the best possible returns to growers,” he said.

Mr Lee is managing partner of a family farming business located 15km north-east of Mingenew in WA’s Northern Agricultural Region.

The business is predominantly focused on grain growing, including production of wheat, barley, canola, and both albus lupin and narrow-leafed lupin. It also produces wool and prime lambs.

Mr Lee has added value to his albus lupin production through an Australian ‘paddock to plate’ joint venture initiative.

He started farming in 1998 after nearly 15 years in the banking and finance industry, mainly in agribusiness.

Mr Lee is represented on the CBH Group’s Growers Advisory Council and is a Mingenew Irwin Group board member.

Gemma Walker

Caption: Gemma Walker has in recent years managed the tri-state Mallee Sustainable Farming and has hands-on involvement in her family farm at Munglinup

Ms Walker has extensive experience in broadacre cropping and livestock systems gained through managing the tri-state Mallee Sustainable Farming and her hands-on involvement in her family farm near Munglinup in WA’s Esperance region.

She is the national vice chairwoman of Partners in Grain, which she also chaired for two years.

Ms Walker holds a Bachelor of Agribusiness (Hons) and has furthered her education through opportunities such as the Northern Mallee Leaders Program.

Mr Lee and Ms Walker join existing panellists including growers Peter Roberts (chairman), John Even, Shauna Stone and Paul Kelly, scientist Mike Ewing (deputy chairman), consultant Chris Wilkins, research extension specialist Susan Hall and Agricultural Produce Commission chairman Bill Ryan. GRDC research programs executive manager Brondwen MacLean is on the panel in an executive role.

The GRDC plans and invests in RD&E 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.


Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

Region West