Australia's rice marketing board has grown stronger, with the addition of a new board member and the re-election of two of the Riverina's strongest rice professionals.
With the retirement of Gillian Kirkup as a grower representative, space on the board had to be filled. Four candidates stepped up to nominate for the three positions, with John Bradford, Ian Mason and Melissa De Bortoli taking the spots.
John Bradford joined the Rice marketing board in 2015, and was re-elected to the board. He is a fifth-generation farmer whose family has been farming in the Riverina for over a century, and now sits as a director of SunRice.
Ian Mason was also re-elected, bringing his expertise in rice breeding, technology and water efficiency. He also sits as a director of SunRice, putting them in a strong position going forward.
New to the board is Melissa De Bortoli, coming from the famed agri-business and farming family in Griffith and bringing experience in rice from their broadacre operations.
Ms De Bortoli explained that it was vital that the Murrumbidgee is represented on the board.
"I'm really grateful for the opportunity, I'm looking forward to advocating for our growers," she explained.
"It's quite an important industry for our region, it's important it stays in our region."
Rice is looking good going forward, with water allocations being a huge boon for the industry in the Riverina.
"The uncertainty in prior years with drought was pretty scary for the industry, so having water allocations is massive," Ms De Bortoli explained.
Chairman John Culleton thanked Ms Kirkup for her work over the years.
"Gillian's commitment to the RMB has always been of the highest order and she has made a very significant contribution over the past 16 years," he said.
"She has made it her business to be across detail, to ask questions, and when required, to challenge the established ways of doing things. We thank Gillian for the wonderful service she has provided to the rice growers of NSW and wish her well for the future."
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