You can't keep a good man down by Bernie Reppel

Training award winner 'Robbo' Robinson: "It was hard in a couple of aspects but I have shown I can do everything that's involved in farm work."

DANIEL ROBINSON isn't going to let a physical handicap stop him becoming involved as a grains and cotton agronomist and, eventually, a farm manager. He didn't let it stop him applying for, and winning, a $5, 000 GRDC Agricultural Training Award, either—with what the corporation reckoned was one of the best applications ever received.

Daniel ('Robbo' to his mates) was born with short stature, a rare affliction that left him with his arms and legs considerably shorter than those of a normal person.

He didn't let that problem stop him from embracing the rural lifestyle (he grew up on a small cattle property at Mt Mee, north-west of Brisbane) and he hasn't let it hinder his progress through the physical side of study at the Emerald Agricultural College, on Queensland's central highlands.

Tractors, irrigation syphons and farm mechanics are among the 'practical' requirements of study at Emerald and Mr Robinson has tackled them all, winning the admiration of staff and fellow students alike for both courage and imagination.

"I have had to do a few things a bit differently, " he says. "I had trouble holding and working the irrigation syphons, and came up with the idea of adapting a rubber tyre tube to help me hold the pipe. "

Mr Robinson's $5, 000 Agricultural Training Award to study at Emerald Agricultural College was one of nine made by the GRDC for 2002-03.

He will leave the college at the end of 2003 with a Diploma in Agriculture Science specialising in Irrigated Crop Production and an Advanced Diploma of Rural Business Management.

More about training awards

Up to 12 awards are available annually for students undertaking full-time study at a recognised vocational education and training provider institution. Applicants need to demonstrate an excellent record of school achievement, and preference is given to applicants who indicate an understanding of the knowledge and skills that will be required for a successful career in the Australian grain industry.

Altogether the GRDC will invest around $500, 000 in training and research awards in 2002-2003 — four Undergraduate Honours Scholarships, 12 Research Scholarships, two Postdoctoral Awards, one each for in-service training, senior fellowships and visiting fellowships and two for industry development.

Both industry development awards will go to WA, one to the South East Premium Wheatgrowers Association (SEPWA) for a 'Minimal Rainfall Study Tour', and the other to Miling grower Tony White to study no-till farming in South Australia.

SEPWA's study aims to help participating growers from the lower-rainfall areas of the Esperance Port Zone in better management of climatic uncertainty.

Mr White will attend two no-tillage conferences as well as associated farm visits to look at disc seeders, crop diversity and use of liquid fertilisers. He says he will be able to extend the information gathered in SA through the Western Australian No-Tillage Farmers Association and the association's Meckering trial site.

Region North, South, West