GRDC GRAINS RESEARCH UPDATES: Seed of Gold recognises grains research champion Terry Enright

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Cally DupeCountryman
Terry Enright.
Camera IconTerry Enright. Credit: GRDC/GRDC

Great Southern-raised grains industry legend Terry Enright has become one of just seven people in history to receive Grains Research Development Corporation’s Seed of Gold Award.

Mr Enright, the chair of Grains Australia, was acknowledged for his outstanding contribution to the powerhouse grains industry at the GRDC Research Updates in Perth this week.

The Seed of Gold recognises the dedication and commitment of individuals to the Australian grains industry, with the most recent WA recipient UWA emeritus professor Stephen Powles in 20201.

GRDC chair John Woods paid tribute to Mr Enright’s more than 40 years involvement with the direction and management of agricultural research, culminating in his role with Grains Australia.

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The 2020-organisation is in the midst of bringing together dozens of “industry good functions” groups in the nation’s fragmented grains industry to streamline efficiency and funding.

In prior years, Mr Enright held roles as chair of Wheat Quality Australia, the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, LiveCorp and AEGIC, commissioner of the Export Wheat Commission, as well as board roles for Grain Producers Australia and the Crawford Fund.

Mr Woods said he would be hard placed to find a more deserving recipient for GRDC’s most prestigious award.

“His contribution and commitment to the WA and national grains industry over more than four decades has been extraordinary, and his work has undisputedly changed our sector for the better,” he said.

“He has been an outstanding leader across a range of influential agricultural entities, including GRDC, and yet he has been, and continues to be, a man of the people: humble, hardworking and tirelessly dedicated to our sector.”

After almost half a century as a grain and livestock producer in Mount Barker, Mr Enright retired from farming in 2018 and now resides in Geraldton, maintaining several agricultural related roles.

Mr Enright’s connection with GRDC extends back to some of the organisation’s earliest years.

He was appointed to the first Western Panel in 1993 and became panel chair in 1996, GRDC deputy chair in 1999 and chair from 2002-2007.

During his time as GRDC chair Mr Enright stewarded a reorganisation of Australia’s wheat-breeding efforts, strengthening its national and commercial focus. He was influential in advocating and developing this new focus, initially for wheat and subsequently for barley and pulse breeding.

As chair of Albany Port Authority from 1993 to 2003, Mr Enright presided over the $15m port expansion to accommodate the expanding grain and wood-chip industries of the Great Southern.

In 2008, Mr Enright became the first grower to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of “Science in Agriculture” from The University of WA.

Mr Enright said that working with a cross section of high-calibre grains researchers and leaders over many years was among the highlights of his career.

“I have worked with an incredible number of people over the years including researchers, board and panel members,” Mr Enright said.

“One person can only do so much, and it’s through the collaborative efforts of many individuals in the grains industry that we’ve achieved such significant gains.”

Mr Enright’s drive to be involved in grains research surfaced during the early days of his farming enterprise.

“We were developing a new land block at the time, and I saw the value of research and what it could deliver in terms of new crops, agronomy and pest management,” he said.

“Back then, canola was unknown, but the introduction of rapeseed was new to Australia. Now, canola is WA’s second biggest crop. There has been a lot of industry work go into making that happen, but efforts in the research space have been a key driver.”

Gains in crop breeding, across all grains, including the transition to commercial breeding, are among other notable achievements in which Mr Enright played a role, as GRDC directed research investment in these areas.

“It has been a privilege to have been involved with GRDC from the beginning and been part of its development into the most influential research investment vehicle in the grains industry.”

GRDC is one of 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing research, development and extension for 25 leviable grain crops.

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