A grain grower and company director from north-eastern Victoria has been appointed the new chair of the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) Southern Region Panel.
Andrew Russell, of Rutherglen, will start in the role on September 1 this year, assuming the position that has been occupied by West Wimmera (Victoria) grower John Bennett since 2018.
GRDC Board Chair John Woods today congratulated Mr Russell on his appointment and paid tribute to Mr Bennett who recently stepped down from Panel duties.
“Since his appointment as a member of the Southern Region Panel, Andrew has established himself as an important contributor, ensuring GRDC investments reflect the priorities of southern growers and deliver real impact on-farm,” Mr Woods said.
“As a member of the Southern Region Panel, Andrew has demonstrated leadership qualities that will serve him well in this new role; he listens to others is measured in his decision-making and is committed to a sustainable and profitable grains sector.”
Mr Russell is the managing director and a shareholder of cropping enterprise, Lilliput AG, and a director and shareholder of the affiliated Baker Seed Co, a family-owned farming and seed cleaning business.
Lilliput AG produces wheat, canola, lupin, faba bean, triticale and oats, as well as sub clover for seed and hay. Mr Russell and his family, including his wife Sue and two children, also run 3000 crossbred ewes for prime lamb production and a cattle feedlot.
Mr Russell, who will also sit on GRDC’s National Panel, said he felt ‘privileged’ to be afforded the Panel Chair opportunity.
“I’m experiencing a healthy amount of anticipation about taking on the role, for two reasons: I’ll be embarking on a steep learning curve, which I will enjoy; and I’m taking over from John Bennett who has been an exceptional Chair,” Mr Russell said.
“John’s brand of leadership has been so positive, and that was especially evident during the pandemic when he managed to keep the Panel together, focused and operational. My first goal as the new Chair will be to maintain the positive momentum that John has created.”
Mr Russell said he was also looking forward to working alongside the other GRDC Regional Panel Chairs, Darrin Lee (west) and Arthur Gearon (north).
Mr Woods thanked Mr Bennett for his outstanding contribution to GRDC and representation of the interests of its grower levy payers.
“John became a member of the Panel in 2015 and since then the grain growers and the broader grains industry have benefited from his knowledge, unique insights, commitment and leadership skills,” Mr Woods said.
The Panel’s Deputy Chair Kate Wilson is Acting Chair until Mr Russell’s term begins on September 1.