Grains research directors welcomed

NEW DIRECTORS with skills in business, research administration and food technology have been welcomed to the board of the Grains Research and Development Corporation by its new chairman, Terry Enright.

"I look forward to working with the new directors appointed to the GRDC by the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Judith Troeth," he said.

"Our new board takes office during hard times for the industry. However, the industry is far better able to deal with adverse conditions now than it was a few years ago, due in no small measure to grains research.

"Australian grains research, through the GRDC, offers a fresh vision and strategies for the industry's future growth and environmental sustainability.

"New skills are important because many of the future solutions for the grain industry lie far beyond the farm gate and will build on the considerable achievements of the outgoing board."

Mr Enright said skills brought by the new GRDC directors included:

  • the research and administration capabilities of Dr Donald Plowman, who is director of research at the South Australian R&D Institute
  • the business administration and science skills of Ms Helen Cameron, who has worked in the banking, securities and food industry
  • the grain production and marketing skills of Mr Ross Johns, a Victorian grain and livestock farmer, and
  • the skills in finance and food technology brought by Dr Rachel Lucas, who is commercial director for the CRC for Food Industry Innovation.

They will join continuing GRDC board members who, with Mr Enright, include Dr Tony Fischer Ms Christine Hawkins, Dr Cliff Samson, and the managing director, Professor John Lovett.

Mr Enright, a WA graingrower, congratulated the outgoing chairman of the GRDC, Grant Latta, a Melbourne businessman, for applying his high-level business acumen to give Australian grains research a new, commercial edge.

He congratulated Mr Latta and the other outgoing GRDC board members (NSW graingrower Richard Clark, CSIRO scientist Ray Shorter) or contributing to a period of "fundamental change" in Australian grains research.

This has included streamlining Australia's plant-breeding programs and a major reorganisation of the GRDC business structure.