Griffith certainly put on a show two years ago for the Cotton Awards presentation night - so much so that organisers have chosen our fine city to host this year's event in July 24.
Added to that, our cotton stalwarts helping maintain the industry in Griffith, the MIA and the surrounding Riverina have been named among the best.
Kieran O'Keeffe has forged an impressive career in agronomy development and extension for almost 30 years, according to Cotton Australia's judging panel.
This has led him to be named one of three finalists Australia wide for the Cotton Seed Distributors Researcher of the Year Award.
Starting his career in irrigation agronomy with the NSW Department of Primary Industries, he worked as the district agronomist at Coleambally, before joining CottonInfo six years ago as the Southern NSW Regional Extension Officer.
His first-hand knowledge and experience, coupled with those relationships is why he thinks he was chosen as a finalist.
Working with the growers here, he says they are the most forward-thinking people he has met.
"People here are willing to take anything on board, they are not afraid of new innovations, technology or ways of thinking. However it must be three things - proven, practical and profitable."
His work to date includes extending both old and new research, guiding new and prospective and new growers, and local trials and bringing in the experts where necessary.
One of his favourite tools is the drone, which helps him map and predict crop yields with accurate results so far.
Despite an uncertain 2020 for growers, he still sees a shining future for the industry, especially in relation to water efficiency and improving on return per hectare.
Credited for playing an integral part in the transformation of Southern NSW into a major cotton region, he has employed a variety of extension techniques to guide growers into the cotton industry.
Mr O'Keeffe is also the Vice Chair and cotton representative of the Irrigation Research and Extension Committee.
"I have been based in the south for a long time, and have gotten to know irrigators and advisors well, meaning those connections are stronger than ever," Mr O'Keeffe said.
The awards judging panel has travelled to the finalists' regions to meet and assess each of the candidates.
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