Grains and Research and Development Corp. implements new leadership

by Holly Dmearee
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GRDC Chairman John Woods
John Woods

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — John Woods has been named to a three-year term as chairperson of the Grains and Research and Development Corp. (GRDC).

The GRDC is a grains research organization, responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing RD&E to deliver improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry. It is principally funded by a grower levy and Australian government contributions. The levy is based on the net farm gate value of the annual production of 25 crops: wheat; coarse grains—barley, oats, sorghum, maize, triticale, millets/panicums, cereal rye and canary seed; pulses—lupins, field peas, chickpeas, faba beans, vetch, peanuts, mung beans, navy beans, pigeon peas, cowpeas and lentils; and oilseeds—canola, sunflower, soybean, safflower and linseed. The Australian government’s contribution is determined annually, based on the three-year rolling average of the gross value of production of the 25 leviable crops.

“It’s my pleasure to appoint Boggabilla grower, Woods, as chairperson of the GRDC and I look forward to working with him on tackling the issues facing Australia’s grains industry,” said Barnaby Joyce, deputy prime minister and minster for agriculture and water resources. “His extensive agricultural background also includes involvement with the National Agricultural Monitoring System, National Rural Advisory Council, Chemcert Training Queensland, Rural Financial Counselling Service Review Committee, Cotton Australia, Agricultural Finance Forum, Farmsafe Queensland, Queensland Farmers Federation and FARMBIS.”

Woods has a history of working collaboratively with a range of both public and private organizations in the development, extension and adoption of new technology.  Woods was chairman of the National Agricultural Monitoring System (NAMS) Science Advisory Group 2005-09 as well as a member of the NAMS Advisory Reference Group and the Steering Committee. He also spent six years to 2005 on the National Rural Advisory Council. Woods was chairman of Chemcert Training Queensland from 2002-04 and has held positions with Cotton Australia and Farmsafe Queensland.

“Each year the GRDC invests more than $200 million from a combination of grain farmer levies and federal government contribution in research, development and extension,” said Andrew Weidemann, Grain Producers Australia chair. “The GRDC chair is responsible for ensuring this investment has the highest possible potential to enhance productivity, profitability and sustainability of Australian grain farmers.”

Woods’ successor, Richard Clark, outgoing chairperson, was appointed to the position in 2013.

“During Clark’s time as chair, he has led the corporation to focus more on strategic partnerships, such as that with Bayer, which focuses on development of resistance – busting herbicides,” Joyce said. “Clark has ensured a smooth introduction of a new board, and recently a new managing director. He has also strengthened regional ties with the roll-out of regional offices across the country and, as an experienced farmer and company director, has brought a deep understanding of the challenges facing the industry.”

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