The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) in May 2017 announced a plan for a major re-alignment of its business model to drive increased grain grower profitability through higher impact research and development and greater on-farm adoption of innovative technologies.
Since then, the GRDC has been actively recruiting some of the best people in the grains industry and agribusiness to boost its capacity and capability to help re-shape the organisation.
GRDC Managing Director Dr Steve Jefferies announced that the Corporation has boosted its leadership capacity and expanded its regional presence with several key senior appointments.
“I’m excited to announce that Dr Nicole Jensen is General Manager for the newly created Genetics and Enabling Technologies business group and Ms Lucy Broad is General Manager for the very important Grower Extension and Communications business group,” Dr Jefferies said.
“Nicole and Lucy complete the GRDC executive team and have commenced with the GRDC. Both have a strong passion for improving the livelihood of grain growers, demonstrated capability in leading diverse cross-functional teams and extensive experience in senior management as well as business strategy.”
Dr Jensen has a PhD in quantitative genetics from the University of Queensland and joins the GRDC from her previous role as Supply Innovation Lead with The Climate Corporation, Monsanto’s digital agriculture flagship, in St Louis, Missouri, USA.
She brings a wealth of experience in breeding and related activities arising from several roles in the seed industry including positions as Global Trait Integration Breeding Lead for Monsanto and Principal Sorghum Breeder with Pacific Seeds/Advanta at Toowoomba.
Ms Broad has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, majoring in agronomy, and joins the GRDC from her role as Managing Director of Cox Inall Communications and Cox Inall Change. She has spent her career in communications, first with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and for the last 13 years overseeing communications and behaviour change strategies for clients across the agriculture, natural resource management, government and not-for-profit sectors.
To be more transparent in decision making and more responsive to grain growers’ constraints to profitability, the GRDC is committed to getting closer to growers, according to Dr Jefferies. This commitment includes growing the GRDC’s regional presence.
Dr Jefferies said crucial to this increased regional presence are the six new Grower Relations Managers – the first three of these have been appointed, with one in each of the three GRDC regions.
“These are key roles that will assist the GRDC in being the eyes and ears of the organisation in the three regions, facilitating the two-way flow of information between the GRDC and its key stakeholders,” he said.
“Grower Relations Managers will be critical in co-ordinating and analysing grains research ideas from stakeholders throughout the region. They will also be involved in identifying barriers to adoption and devising innovative and effective ways to deliver information that results in improved profitability for grain growers.”
In Perth, newly appointed Grower Relations Manager Jo Wheeler joins the GRDC’s western region team from a background of sustainable agriculture and natural resource management. She has worked with Wheatbelt NRM for the past four years collaborating closely with grains industry stakeholders to manage a range of on-farm projects.
Darren Arney has been appointed as Grower Relations Manager servicing the southern region from the GRDC’s Adelaide office. For the last five years he has been the Chief Executive Officer of Grain Producers SA Ltd, and previously worked across SA as a consultant agronomist and finance industry manager and analyst.
Richard Holzknecht has been appointed Grower Relations Manager servicing the northern region from the GRDC’s Toowoomba office. Most recently, he has been the Technical Services Manager with BASF Australia, responsible for product technical development and new product launches for BASF in Australia.
Further Grower Relations Manager appointments will be announced in the near future.