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GRDC recognises young agronomist as a prominent, emerging leader

(left to right) NSW Department of Primary Industries Director General Scott Hansen; 2023 GRDC Emerging Leader award recipient for the northern region Mathew Dunn; GRDC Managing Director Nigel Hart; GRDC Northern Panel Deputy Chair Roger Bolte.
Photo: Nicole Baxter

Established research agronomist Mathew Dunn, has been recognised by the northern grains industry leaders for his commitment to research extension, receiving the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Emerging Leader award for the northern region.

Mr Dunn, who has worked for the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) since 2015, was awarded the prestigious honour by GRDC’s Northern Panel at the 2023 Grains Research Update in Wagga Wagga last night.

GRDC’s Emerging Leader award recognises excellence, commitment and passion demonstrated by an individual in the Australian grains industry, with recipients often commended for their efforts in ground-truthing research outcomes for growers and working with industry to address productivity issues and develop opportunities.

The award carries a cash scholarship of $15,000 to support the professional development of the recipient and support their future contribution to the grains industry. This can be used for travel or other activities to further professional skills and expertise.

Mr Dunn said he was surprised to receive the honour but felt very fortunate to have the support and backing of the Northern Panel and industry.

“Hearing that our research is providing relevant information that is useful to growers is aways fantastic to hear,” he said.

Mr Dunn has been working as part of a farming systems research team for the past two years, looking at identifying agronomic and management factors that drive profit and optimise returns from a long-term, whole-system approach.

His current project involves a mixture of field research, paired with modelling and economic analysis to examine where system opportunities and risks lie.

Mr Dunn said a key part of his work has been about interpreting data for growers and agronomists, but also working with them to understand industry gaps and how his research could address them.

“Having these relationships is one of the most important aspects of our research,” he said.

“Being able to discuss the relevance and potential implications of our results at a farm level is invaluable.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to prioritise industry relevant outcomes through independent research with a high level of scientific rigour”.

GRDC Northern Panel Chair, Arthur Gearon said Mr Dunn was recognised with the Emerging Leader award for his exceptional grower communication skills and ability to disseminate research outcomes to growers in a way they can readily understand and adopt on farm.

“Mathew has shown dedication and consistency in his research and has proven himself to be an avid communicator who provides reliable, timely information to growers that can help them improve profitability,” he said.

“Mathew has dedicated a lot of time in helping growers understand the risk and opportunities in making changes to their farming systems and has given them the confidence to incorporate new practices that can help improve their systems.

“Farming systems work is widely appreciated by growers, as it helps answer a lot of ‘what if’ questions that can help them make more informed management decisions. Having someone that’s able to talk through risk and reward opportunities like Mathew does is so important.

“I am pleased GRDC was able to recognise Mathew’s ongoing commitment to the grains industry, which has been well recognised by the Northern Panel and local growers and hope he’s able to use the award support to further develop his prosperous career.”

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