Murraylands farmer Sharon Starick reapppointed as non-executive director of Australian Grain Research Development Corporation

Having been reappointed as a non-executive director to the national Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC), Murraylands woman Sharon Starick wants to make sure investments in the grain industry have an impact.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud announced the seven people appointed as the GRDC's non-executive directors for the next three years on October 21

Three of the seven are reappointments, including Mrs Starick, who has been filling a casual vacancy for just under two years.

Mrs Starick is a grain producer herself; she and her husband grown wheat, barley, peas and canola at their farm at Punthari, about 20 kilometres north of Mannum.

She is one of two South Australians appointed as a non-executive director, and this month she was also appointed the independent chair of SA's Minister's Recreational Fishing Advisory Council.

She joined the GRDC as she could see the benefits of investing in research into issues like breeding.

"Research and development really excite me; I have an agricultural science degree, and the importance of science how it is adopted on-farm is a passion of mine," she said.

"The GRDC has done good work around making sure investments are to the benefit of the grain industry and producers."

She also wanted to bring a different perspective from the other directors; she has a natural resource management background, and wanted to share her knowledge and contacts regarding sustainability.

She is really looking forward to ensuring the GRDC's investments in the grain industry are having a measured positive impact for producers and the wider industry.

Another goal is to make the GRDC's dollar stretch further through non-traditional partners.

"I'm keen to support Agricultural Innovation Australia and a partnership approach of all RDCs in terms of common issues," she said.

Mrs Starick wants to help fellow grain producers as they tackle a range of issues, including climate change, trade, and community perceptions.

"You look across Australia and there are places suffering the impacts of drought, while other parts are having a bumper season," she said.

"Climate change is becoming a bigger issue as there is more climate variability every year - it makes it challenging in any farming environment.

"Given much of the grain industry is export market-orientated, we need access to diverse markets for the grain sector - China's recent decision with barley is an example of that."

She said it was important to engage with the broader community to ensure there was education around grain production issues, like the debate in South Australia around genetically modified (GM) crops.

Mr Littleproud said the group of non-executive directors was "paramount to realising the priorities" in the GRDC's Research, Development and Extension Plan for 2018-2023.

"The directors' role is to deliver the best possible research and development to support Australian grain producers to be profitable and succeed in the highly competitive global grain market," he said.

"GRDC has set ambitious targets and is delivering on a long-term strategy to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers.

"The directors will oversee approximately $114 million in grain levies and approximately $60 million in government matched funds."

Along with developing research, tools and resources for the industry, the GRDC will host forums that deal with harvest loss reduction, harvest weed seed control and preventing harvester fires.

"This work of the GRDC leadership team will enable growers, advisers and contractors to learn about strategies to improve harvest practices from industry experts," Mr Littleproud said.

"Research and development led by GRDC benefits our hardworking grain growers, ensuring that more grain goes in the bin and more money ends up in their pockets.

"I'm confident the new board members are the right people to lead the GRDC through the challenges ahead."

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This story Starick keen to see grain industry investments making impact first appeared on The Murray Valley Standard.