The 2019 Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Southern Region Seed of Light Award has been presented to Jason Brand, Horsham-based senior researcher with Agriculture Victoria.
The Seed of Light Award, voted upon by the GRDC Southern Region Panel, acknowledges outstanding effort in the extension of outcomes from GRDC grains research investments.
GRDC Southern Region Panel member Kate Wilson presented the award at the GRDC Grains Research Update in Bendigo (Victoria) this week.
“When it comes to the extension of new knowledge and advice out of research into pulse crops in the southern region, Jason is without peer,” Mrs Wilson said.
“What this man does not know about pulse breeding and agronomy is not worth knowing. I speak about Jason’s worth not only on behalf of the grains industry in the south and beyond, but also from personal experience.
“Over many years I have been privileged to operate as a grower and an adviser in an industry that has benefited enormously from Jason’s dedication, enthusiasm and expertise.
“And while in essence he is a researcher – and a very good one at that – it is his particular efforts in communication and extension that this award acknowledges.”
As the long-standing leader of the GRDC’s Southern Pulse Agronomy Program – one of his many roles and responsibilities – Dr Brand’s influence has been immense.
“I would even suggest that Jason’s work has in some way or another found its way into just about every pulse crop sown, grown and harvested in the southern region over recent decades,” Mrs Wilson said.
“A passion of Jason’s, from which we all benefit, is working very creatively to attract young people into grains research as graduates, PhD students and technical staff.
“I know Jason puts an enormous effort into mentoring new students in the importance of understanding farming systems and the importance of working with growers and agronomists to ensure their research is relevant and can be easily accessed.”
Dr Brand’s career path in agricultural research began at an early age, having attended Urrbrae Agricultural High School in Adelaide before studying at the University of Adelaide where he completed his PhD in agricultural science in 1999.
He began employment as a Horsham-based pulse research agronomist with Agriculture Victoria in February 2000 and he has been there ever since, playing an active role in promoting pulses and their improved management within farming systems in south-eastern Australia.
Dr Brand has been responsible for developing management packages for new pulse varieties and has provided advice to Pulse Breeding Australia on traits suited to modern farming systems.
“In a nutshell, Jason brings genetics and management together and then extends the outcomes to ensure new traits are better utilised,” Mrs Wilson said.
“Each year, he updates our growers and the broader industry on new pulse varieties and the pros and cons of choosing the right variety for any given situation, based on agronomy, disease management and market influences.
“He leads and facilitates field days and workshops and never tires from presenting at GRDC Grains Research Updates where growers, advisers and his research colleagues eagerly absorb his insights and words of wisdom.
“The information, knowledge and advice he imparts is practical, useful and of the highest value. Such was his impact in pulse agronomy at an early age, Jason in 2008 received the Australian Society of Agronomy Young Agronomist Award.
“Appreciation and acknowledgement of his work have continued to flow ever since, and so have the accolades.
“On behalf of the GRDC and the broader grains industry, I congratulate Jason on his considerable and ongoing efforts to support our growers as they strive for improved farming systems and greater profitability,” Mrs Wilson said.