Directing research from the ground up

WANT TO have your say on grains research in northern NSW or Queensland? If so, there's no better way than serving on a RAC (a regional advisory committee).

A total of eight RACs work with the Grains Research and Development Corporation to identify and prioritise research issues.

There are four RACs respectively in Queensland and northern NSW, and they are backed to varying degrees by state grower organisations — AgForce, NSW Farmers Association, Queensland Department of Primary Industries and NSW Agriculture. Since 1992 they have helped improve communication and research direction between producers and research suppliers.

While the GRDC supports agronomist Jack Twyford in providing secretarial services to the committees, the RACs operate independently of the Corporation.

According to the chairman of the GRDC's Northern Panel, Ian Buss, the Corporation is keen to maintain this independent relationship. "Far from wanting to influence the RACs, we want them to influence us, but that situation is probably not widely understood in the graingrower community," Mr Buss said.

"Because the RACs have generally had a low public profile, there's been some perception that they are a closed shop, but that is definitely not the case. The RACs are always looking to growers for new blood and the final selections to the committees are made respectively by the Grains Research Foundation in Queensland and by NSW Farmers in that State."

There is a RAC for each of the north's eight subregions with members appointed for three years. Most committee members are growers, but RACs also include representatives of agri-business and research providers to ensure a balanced range of views.

Committee membership is the result of a formal process of nomination and selection by each producer organisation. The term of appointment is for three years, with further appointment possible.

A member of the GRDC north-en panel attends RAC meetings. The eight RACs and their regions of responsibility are:

Central Qld: Clermont, Emerald, Springsure, Moura, Theodore, Monto, Biloela, Rockhampton and Mackay — chairman Peter Durkin 07 4993 1127

Darling Downs: Toowoomba, Warwick, Pittsworth, Dalby and Chinchilla — chairman Wayne Newton 07 4663 8180

Western Downs and Maranoa: Taroom, Miles, Tara, Goondiwindi, St George and Roma — chairman Neville Boland 07 4676 1709

South East Qld: Mundubbera, Gayndah, Kingaroy, Gatton, Boonah, Gympie and Bundaberg — chairman Colin Clark 07 4168 4915

North West NSW: west of the Newell Highway (including Moree and Narrabri) and north of the Castlereagh Highway, including Coonamble and Walgett — chairman Rod Morris 02 6796 8225

North East NSW: east of the Newell Highway, from the Liverpool Range to the Queensland border — chairman Richard Chamen 02 6763 1100

Central West NSW: west of the Newell Highway, including Gilgandra to Dubbo, and south and west of the Castlereagh Highway, including Collie, Warren and Nyngan — chairman Ian Elliott 02 6888 5303

Central East NSW: east and south of the Newell Highway, including Coonabarabran, Cool ah and Merriwa, to the Macquarie Valley, including Gulgong and Wellington — chairman Peter Knowles 02 6845 1005

Region North