Jerilderie ricegrower Russell Ford has taken on a new role with the AgriFutures Australia Rice Advisory Panel, inducted recently as an official panel member.
Prior to the new panel’s first meeting in Wagga Wagga, Mr Ford had only acted as a technical advisor to the board.
The ‘Old Coree’ Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd manager said he was keen to guide the board in a more official capacity.
‘‘I’ve sat on the panel as an advisor before and now I’m hoping to bring my experience to the my new role,’’ Mr Ford said.
‘‘We’ll look at various strategies to advance the industry, such as rice research and what’s the best return for our growers.
‘‘I’m already quite familiar with the panel members so I’m confident I can work with them.
‘‘The panel is made up of farmers, so we know the struggles and advantages of the industry.’’
The new-look panel is led by ricegrower Drew Braithwaite, who replaced long-term chair and Finley grower Ian Mason at the helm.
Also on the panel are Dr Laurie Lewin, Michele Groat, Dr Vito Butardo Jr., Garry Knagge, Dr Ben Ovenden, Barry Kirkup and Brian Dunn.
AgriFutures Australia and the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia recognised the commitment of Mr Mason to the panel, as well as other outgoing panel members John Sheppard, Peter Kaylock and Peter Herrmann.
‘‘Mr Mason has been an important part of the Rice Advisory Panel for more than 20 years and provided strong leadership as chair since 2007,’’ RGA president Jeremy Morton said.
‘‘His commitment to the industry is unwavering. His leadership, knowledge of the industry and passion for rice has led the panel through years of decision-making around worthwhile, progressive and innovative rice research and development.’’
Members of the Rice Advisory Panel serve a three-year term to support the delivery of the Rice Research Development and Extension Program and a Five Year Strategic Plan which is focused on rice breeding, aerobic rice development, farm productivity and extension.
The new Australian Rice Leadership Program and developments of the rice research and development levy were also discussed at the Wagga meeting.