Scientist/communicator queried salinity abatement, led to innovation

EMINENT AGRICULTURAL scientist John Passioura was honoured with the GRDC's 'Seed of Light' award for his communications work in the southern grains region.

GRDC Chairman, WA grower Terry Enright, presented Dr Passioura with the work of art in glass at Grains Week. Seed of Light awards are made each year by the GRDC in each of the grain industry's three regions. (Tum to p6 for the other regional winners.)

Mr Enright said: "As Honorary Research Fellow at CSIRO Plant Industry, John has an impressive national and international reputation in crop physiology and soil science. He can also present information in a style which is refreshing, relaxed, which translates the complex into clarity, and which inevitably evokes comment and questions from the audience".

Mr Enright said an example of Dr Passioura's communication skills came a few years ago when, at a Farmer Research Update, he queried the focus on tree planting as the salvation for Australia's dryland salinity problem, pointing out that tree planting was only part of the solution.

"His presentation was clear and logical and a forerunner to diverse R&D investments into dry land salinity research, including the use of lucerne as a productive solution to dryland salinity," Mr Enright said.