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Livestock genetics honour for Tullamore stud breeder

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Livestock genetics honour for Tullamore stud breeder
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Alumy Creek Angus - Stud Angus Sires Tenterfield - Top of the Range Angus Genetics

Livestock genetics honour for Tullamore stud breeder

 

Tullamore animal genetics practitioner Mark Mortimer has been awarded the prestigious Helen Newton Turner Medal for his major contributions to Australia’s livestock genetic research and development.

Named after Dr. Helen Newton Turner, a distinguished researcher renowned for her dedication to enhancing sheep genetics for superior wool production, this award celebrates exceptional accomplishments and remarkable contributions to the field of animal genetics in Australia.

Kate Lorimer Ward, Chair of the Helen Newton Turner Trust and Deputy Director General of Agriculture for NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) said Mr Mortimer was a well-deserved recipient of this medal.

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“Mr Mortimer has played a pivotal role in enhancing the genetic quality of livestock in Australia through his remarkable achievements in implementation, innovation, and research,” she said.

“For example, in 2003 Mark worked closely with the Sheep CRC to develop the use of RFID tags in the stud, successfully developing software linking the systems for data collection and decision implementation.”

Mr Mortimer is currently the Technology and Data Analysis Manager for the Nucleus Stud and Centre Plus Merino Group, a family partnership with his father Robert and brother Doug. His skill in data management and attention to detail is demonstrated by the Centre Plus Merino group’s rating of 98.6% for the accuracy of data entered into the Sheep Genetics database.

“It’s amazing to learn that his journey into this field began at just 16 when he took on a data entry position with his parents’ sheep breeding operation,” Ms Lorimer-Ward said.

“Today, his status as one of Australia’s leading practitioners is demonstrated by his inclusion on many industry advisory groups, including the Sheep Genetics Advisory committee, and Meat & Livestock Australia’s National Livestock Genetics Consortium.”

Livestock genetics honour for Tullamore stud breeder

Brad Walmsley

Adding to the 2023 honours list, beef genetics research scientist Dr Brad Walmsley received the inaugural Helen Newton Turner Bright Futures Award, acknowledging his accomplishments as a rising talent in animal genetics.

“Dr Walmsley is a real asset to the Australian beef industry through his continued initiative in applied quantitative genetics,” Ms Lorimer-Ward said.

Dr Walmsley is a research scientist at the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), NSW DPI’s joint venture with the University of New England. He provides leadership in the BREEDPLAN research team responsible for the technical and implementation stewardship of BREEDPLAN and BreedObject. His guidance also extends to supervising postgraduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and staff, ensuring the continued success and implementation of BreedObject.

Among his many achievements, including 18 scientific journal papers and 11 genetics presentations since 2014, Dr Walmsley is an active contributor to the design and ongoing conduct of the Southern Multibreed project, a major cattle genetics project involving NSW DPI, the University of New England, AGBU and Meat and Livestock Australia.

“Awards like this not only encourage and inspire those working in animal genetics, but also reinforce the pivotal role it plays in improving animal productivity, health, welfare, enhancing sustainability in agriculture, and conserving biodiversity,” Ms Lorimer-Ward said.

The official award ceremony was held at the Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics (AAAGB) Conference in Perth.

 

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Last call on senators to vote NO on the Biosecurity Levy and #ScraptheTax

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Last call on senators to vote NO on the Biosecurity Levy and #ScraptheTax

 

As the Biosecurity Protection Levy looms for consideration in the senate today, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) issues a final, impassioned plea to senators, underscoring the critical importance of standing in solidarity with Australian farmers and decisively voting to #ScraptheTax.

NFF President David Jochinke conveys a sense of urgency, acknowledging the persistent threat posed by the levy’s potential passage, despite months of concerted opposition from within the agricultural sector and throughout the broader supply chain.

Expressing profound dismay, Jochinke laments the apparent disconnect between the government’s stance and the genuine concerns voiced by farmers nationwide. He emphasises the government’s failure to engage in meaningful dialogue, address substantive issues, or heed the resounding call to reconsider this deeply unpopular policy.

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In a remarkable display of unity, the NFF and its extensive membership, representing the full spectrum of Australia’s agricultural commodities, have mobilised to send an unequivocal message: the Biosecurity Levy is unjust, ill-conceived, and detrimental to the livelihoods of Australian farmers.

Jochinke further underscores the troubling disregard exhibited by the government towards expert advice, including recommendations from reputable bodies such as the Productivity Commission and the Australian National University. He highlights the levy’s potential to confer a competitive advantage to foreign competitors, while burdening local farmers with unnecessary financial constraints.

With a rallying cry, the NFF implores senators, particularly those from the Greens and the cross bench, to heed the voices of farmers and independent experts alike. They call upon the senate to fulfil its vital role as a check on rushed and flawed policy initiatives, emphasising the imperative of thorough scrutiny and critical evaluation.

In essence, the NFF’s message to the senate is clear: Australian farmers deserve better. By voting to #ScraptheTax, senators have the opportunity to demonstrate their unwavering support for the agricultural sector and uphold the interests of the communities they represent.

For more background on the Biosecurity Protection Levy click here.

 

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Don’t Miss Out! Early Bird Tickets Now on Sale for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner & National Announcement

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Don’t Miss Out! Early Bird Tickets Now on Sale for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner & National Announcement

 

The National Winner and Runner Up of the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award will be announced at a Gala Dinner at the Great Hall, Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday, 20 August 2024. The prestigious event celebrates female-led ingenuity in the regions. 

The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, with the support of platinum sponsor Westpac, showcases the critical role women play in rural, regional and remote businesses, industries and communities.

The annual Gala Dinner is an opportunity to celebrate the forward-thinking, courageous leaders who come from industries across some of the remote areas of Australia, including each of the State and Territory winners, Kate Lamason (QLD), Rebecca Keeley (NSW/ACT), Grace Larson (VIC), Belle Binder (TAS), Nikki Atkinson (SA), Mandy Walker (WA) and Tanya Egerton (NT).

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2023 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Winner Nikki Davey will be the event MC with the black-tie evening attended by award alumni, government officials, industry and private sector representatives and media.

The event is open to the public to purchase tickets here.

AgriFutures Managing Director John Harvey said the long-running Award is a salute to the wonderful contribution that Australian women are making in the regions.

“The Gala Dinner is an event that champions the remarkable contributions of the 2024 cohort and is an opportunity to honour these extraordinary women who are the pillars of our rural and regional industries, businesses, and communities,” Mr Harvey said.

Background Information

Now in its 24th year, the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award has gained a significant profile, growing in prestige and popularity, and is recognised as a program of influence among parliamentarians, industry, media and Award Alumni.

Each state and territory winner receives a $15,000 grant for their project, business or program, access to professional development opportunities and alumni networks.

The National Winner and Runner Up will receive an additional grant of $20,000 and $15,000, respectively, thanks to the awards platinum sponsor, Westpac.

AgriFutures Australia is committed to the future growth and advancement of the Award as a means of identifying, celebrating and empowering women. The Rural Women’s Award is one of many AgriFutures Australia initiatives ensuring our rural industries prosper now, and into the future.

For more information about the awards, head here.

 

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Better be-leaf it: celebrating International Day of Plant Health

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Better be-leaf it: celebrating International Day of Plant Health

 

In commemoration of the International Day of Plant Health on May 12, 2024, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry is spotlighting the significance of regional collaboration in safeguarding plant health.

Regional achievements in plant health will be lauded during the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI) Symposium, a two-day event held at the Cairns Convention Centre on May 8 and 9. The symposium aims to foster better coordination among industry stakeholders, researchers, and governments to protect plant health.

Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer, emphasises the critical role of plants in sustaining our region’s ecosystems. She underscores the staggering impact of plant pests and diseases, which annually result in the loss of 40% of food crops globally, with rural communities bearing the brunt. Vivian-Smith highlights the department’s commitment to research and innovation to combat these challenges and support farmers’ livelihoods.

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One notable initiative involves researching the efficacy of ethyl formate in controlling the khapra beetle at Australian borders, alongside collaborative efforts with the Queensland government to mitigate seasonal incursions of exotic fruit fly. Additionally, the department is enhancing biosecurity measures domestically and fostering partnerships with neighbouring countries to ensure regional plant health.

Recent endeavour’s include departmental visits to ‘high-biosecurity-risk’ sites in Honiara, where collaboration with Solomon Islands’ counterparts facilitated the detection of exotic plant pest threats. Furthermore, Papua New Guinea’s National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority will host biosecurity officers from Solomon Islands to exchange insights on target pests and surveillance techniques, aligning with the department’s Pacific Biosecurity Strategy.

The PBRI symposium will encompass diverse topics such as varroa mites in honeybees, the Indigenous Ranger Biosecurity Program, and biosecurity risks in the wine industry.

In addition to acknowledging regional achievements, it’s worth noting that the United Nations designated May 12 as the International Day of Plant Health in 2022, emphasising the vital role of plants in sustaining life on Earth. With plants contributing 80% of the food humans consume and generating 98% of the oxygen we breathe, safeguarding their health is paramount for global well-being.

 

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