WA ag researchers receive top industry honour

WA ag researchers receive top industry honour

Two of Western Australia’s most senior and well-respected agriculturalists have received the prestigious Award of Excellence from the WA Division of Ag Institute Australia (AIA).

This state award is given to people who have put in a high level of service to agricultural science while living and working in a regional location.

Caroline Peek, Senior Development Officer with the WA Department of Agriculture and Food, was presented with an Award of Excellence at the recent 103rd Merredin Research Facility field day.

The award is in recognition of more than 30 years of applied research and extension in several areas of agriculture and natural resource management, including soil nutrient management, dairying and broadacre crop production.

Caroline has worked professionally in the southwest and the wheatbelt of WA since she graduated from the University of Western Australia with honours in 1983.

During this time, she has been based in Harvey, Geraldton and Merredin, mainly employed by the Department of Agriculture and Food, and she also spent a period of time working with the consulting firm Planfarm.

As a farming systems research and extension specialist, Caroline has extensive experience working with researchers and producers in managing crop agronomy in the drier areas of the WA wheatbelt.

Also receiving an Award of Excellence is Steve Curtin, a farming systems and business planning specialist with ConsultAg in Lake Grace.

Steve has extensive experience in crop and pasture agronomy, sheep production and production-based research, and has always worked in the low and medium rainfall environments of Lake Grace and Merredin.

Since leaving the Department of Agriculture in 1997 after five years as District Leader at Lake Grace, Steve has built a successful private consulting business, and has specialised in business planning, financial management and agronomy over the last 19 years. 18 months ago he hung up his agronomy boots – handing over to the young guns in ConsultAg.

Focused on evidence-based options, Steve has led numerous research projects tackling major challenges such as frost occurrence and management options, and was instrumental in research that led to the successful adoption of trifluralin in no-till farming systems in the early 90’s.

He is recognised for his attention to detail and taking a low-risk approach with clients in low-rainfall environments.

In making the presentations, Chair of the WA Division of AIA, Dr Don Burnside, says the prestigious awards recognise the best in the WA agricultural sector.

“Caroline and Steve have made a significant contribution to building better farming systems in our state over the course of their highly successful careers.

“Importantly, their work has spanned a range of sectors within agriculture, and tackled issues that have made an on-the-ground, lasting impact for WA farmers.

“These worthy recipients of the Award of Excellence are to be congratulated on their achievements,” Dr Burnside says.