New western panel appointed for GRDC

Author: GRDC | Date: 24 Aug 2015

The western panel of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) starts a new two-year term next month with the recent appointment of the 11 person panel for 2015-17.

Dunn Rock farmer Peter Roberts will continue in his role as the western panel chairman for the new 2015-17 term and Department of Agriculture and Food WA scientist Dr Mike Ewing remains the panel’s deputy chairman.

In announcing the appointments, GRDC Chairman Richard Clark 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,” Mr Clark said.

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

Mr Roberts agreed the GRDC panel process was very important in ensuring grower concerns, ideas and priorities were fed into GRDC and that any issues or RD&E gaps were addressed.

“The geographical coverage that comes with the Panel members appointed for the coming two years is the best we have had for some time,” Mr Roberts said.

“And when you add the more than 60 grain growers, consultants and researchers who make up the five Regional Cropping Solutions Networks (RCSNs) which provide support and advice to the GRDC Western Panel, we really do have all bases covered.”

The Panel comprises three new members along with six panellists who have been re-appointed for another term.

Appointed to the Panel for the first time are Merredin grain grower, Julie Alvaro; Ravensthorpe grain grower, Andrew Duncan, and wheat geneticist, Greg Rebetzke from CSIRO.  GRDC executive manager Stuart Kearns replaces Brondwen MacLean on the western panel in an executive role.

Mr Roberts said the Panel selection process undertaken by the GRDC Board was thorough, ensuring the interests of growers and other grains industry stakeholders in Western Australia would be best served by the members appointed.

“The new Panel is well rounded in terms of industry experience and expertise. Members come from diverse backgrounds – they include growers, researchers, consultants and advisers – and all are highly respected by their peers,” he said.

While announcing the composition of the new Panel, Mr Roberts said it was also timely to recognise the contribution of outgoing panellists Calingiri farmer and former accountant John Even; Quairading farmer Shauna Stone; and grains industry extension and capacity building specialist Susan Hall.

“These individuals have represented the grains industry in their respective regions with distinction and enthusiasm and should be proud of their contribution. I thank them for their efforts and achievements and wish them all the best in their future endeavours,” Mr Roberts 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’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.

The newly appointed panellists join returning panellists including agronomy and farming systems specialist, Mike Ewing; Mingenew grain growers Paul Kelly and Darrin Lee; agricultural consultant, Bill Ryan; Esperance grower Gemma Walker; and well known WA agronomic and agribusiness advisor Chris Wilkins.

Mr Roberts said members of the Panel for the coming term were already actively determining priorities for GRDC-funded R&D in their local areas and were looking forward to meeting with growers and others during this year’s spring tours in September.

“The GRDC’s Western Panel is designed to be the conduit of information and insights between the grass-roots industry and the GRDC, so I encourage all growers and consultants to make themselves known to their local Panel members.”

GRDC’s regional panels in the northern (NSW and Queensland), southern (South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania) and western (Western Australia) regions are renewed every two years.

Contact Details

For Interviews

Peter Roberts, GRDC Western Panel Chair
0428 389 060

Media Inquiries

Kylie Dunstan, GRDC Communication Manager
02 6166 4500; 0428 864934

Region West