The new additions to the Advisory Panel will maintain the hands-on grower balance and will bring a fresh perspective to ensure research and development investment remains aligned with industry priorities, according AgriFutures Australia Senior Manager, Research, John Smith.
“Antony is highly respected within the industry and brings a significant level of farming and research experience to the panel. As former Operations and Technical Services Manager at Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd, a grower and Nuffield Scholar – focusing on the utilisation of rice straw,” said Mr Smith.
“Laura brings a diverse range of technical and operational skills to the panel. She has experience in commercial agronomy, operations within a large family farming business as well as highly-developed project management, research, development and an understanding of the importance of extension.”
Retiring panel members Barry and Garry have made significant contributions during their tenure (four-and-a-half years and six years respectively) to ensure research and development investment is aligned to the AgriFutures™ Rice Program five-year strategic plan.
On behalf of AgriFutures Australia, Mr Smith congratulated and thanked Barry and Garry for their contribution to the AgriFutures™ Rice Program Advisory Panel.
“Both gentlemen have brought practical experience to the panel and have demonstrated their commitment to RD&E as co-operators of field research activities and implementing new on-farm practices,” said Mr Smith.
Despite challenging conditions for growers, the RD&E program remains dedicated to improving the profitability and sustainability of the Australian rice industry, and a number of exciting initiatives focused on the future prosperity of the industry will be rolled out in 2019.
A key driver behind the initiatives is the Rice Extension team, led by newly appointed Rice Extension Coordinator, Troy Mauger.
“The annual Rice Industry Field Day on Thursday, 7 March is a highlight on the industry calendar and will offer presentations, field walks and networking opportunities focused on the theme ‘Connecting rice growers with the future’,” said Mr Maugher.
“We’re also pleased to be supporting the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) Rice Industry Leadership Program 2018-2020, focused on building industry leadership capability and the inaugural Rice Industry Awards, which recognise industry achievements and best practice.”
The SunRice Grower of the Year Award nominations will open Friday, 1 March 2019, recognising high achievement, innovation and environmental sustainability. Growers and industry supporters are encouraged to self-nominate and tap others on the shoulder to apply.
With the new AgriFutures™ Rice Program Advisory Panel in place and extension focused initiatives underway, the program has its sights set on the long term goal of increasing water productivity to 1.5 t/ML. Continued monitoring of RD&E fund availability will enable new investment to occur as soon as possible when production levels return close to normal.
For more information on the AgriFutures™ Rice Program, visit https://www.agrifutures.com.au/rural-industries/rice/
Samantha Munro, AgriFutures Australia, Manager, Communications & Capacity Building
Samantha.firstname.lastname@example.org | 02 6923 6916 | 0409 966 182