Rural leader steps down

AGRICULTURAL ADVOCATE: Dierdre Lemerle is retiring from her roles at CSU and the Graham Centre after a long history.
Nanjing Night Net

A CAREER focussed on delivering research directly to the ruralsector is what defined Graham Centre director Professor Dierdre Lemerle.

Professor Lemerleis retiring from the top job where she was integral in overseeing the research undertaken by the Graham Centre.

The centre based in Wagga is a collaboration between NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Charles Sturt University (CSU).

ProfessorLemerlewasdirector of the centresince its inception 10years ago.

Before that she spent 25 years with theNSWDepartment of Primary Industries in Wagga.

Professor Lemerlesays it is an exciting time for agricultural research and emphasised the importance of communication throughout the entire chain.

“There’s a great team of scientists at the Graham Centre and we have developed partnerships with farming systems groups to ensure that our research is needs driven,” she said.

ProfessorLemerle’sresearch has included non-chemical weed management and increasing crop competitiveness with weeds.

She was awarded the Council of Australian Weed Science Societies Medal for Excellence in Weed Science in 1998, and the CSU Vice-Chancellors Award for Research Excellence toAllelopathyResearch Group 2000.

Professor Lemerle said the clean and green reputation of produce grown in the Murray-Darling Basin cannot be understated.

“We are at a huge advantage here just because of our regional location,” she said.

“The bottom half of the Murray-Darling Basin produces 40 per cent of the food in Australia.”

To be at the forefront of research she said the industry needed to collaborate and deliver results directly to the sector.

“The bucket of money (for research) is always shrinking but there are still new opportunities,” she said.

“Our farmers are producing food and fibre sustainably and we need to communicate that message to the consumers.”

Meanwhile, she stressed the abundance of opportunities for people who were interested in agriculture as a career.

“There is a whole range of career paths available now that weren’t there 10 years ago,” she said.

Professor Lemerle said she was keen to maintain an involvement in the rural research sector despite the fact she was retiring from the role of director.

“I am keen to support the ongoing work at the Graham Centre and I believe now is an exciting time to be at the forefront of agricultural research,” she said.

Professor Lemerle said a new director at the Graham Centre would bring a wealth of ideas to lead the identity into the future to help farmers become more efficient at producing food and fibre.

“We will see more of the extension people working closely together and it is critically important that we continually focus on needs-driven research,” she said.

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