The Southern Australia Livestock Research Council (SALRC) has announced the 2021 award recipients across the southern Australian livestock industries. The awards were developed to recognise, reward and celebrate excellence in the contributions of individuals to research, development, extension, communication and practical application of innovation on farm, to improve the profitability, productivity and sustainability of the Southern Australian red meat and livestock industries.

SALRC is an independent, incorporated association and one of three national research Councils setup to provide recommendations on Research, Development & Adoption (RD&A) priorities and planning for grass-fed beef and sheepmeat producers throughout Australia.

SALRC 2021 Award recipients were:

Producer – Grant Burbidge (Sheep and cattle producer, Tarcutta NSW)

Scientist / Researcher – Prof Wayne Pitchford (Director of Davies Livestock Research Centre and Professor Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Adelaide)

Communication / Extension – Elke Hocking (Public Officer for the South Australian Livestock Consultants group, South Australian SALRC Regional Committee and Sheep and Beef Blueprint Working Group Member, Lucindale SA)

Young Achiever – Tanisha Shields (Land Services Officer, Western NSW LLS, Balranald NSW)

In announcing the award recipients, SALRC Chair Ian Rogan said “innovation and excellence should be recognised and rewarded in our livestock industries. The successful future of our sheep and beef industries depends on the research, development and commercial adoption of best practice and new knowledge and products. Better pastures, improved genetics and management of livestock, meeting market expectations in environmental impacts, animal welfare and product quality-  all provide opportunities for ongoing improvements. Our award recipients this year are outstanding examples of the positive impacts of innovation and adoption of R&D outcomes in our livestock industries.”

In receiving his award, Grant Burbidge, Producer Award recipient responded with “Thanks to those who I have worked with over 45 years who have helped gain this award.  The most significant problem facing the livestock industries is a lack of funding for R&D.  Most of this is due to decreased investment by Governments, CSIRO and Universities and partly due to too much emphasis on marketing and extension by the organisations who collect producer levies.  Unless more is invested in R&D, future generations of producers will suffer reduced rates of productivity growth and be less prepared to tackle the effects of climate change. ”

In responding to his award as SALRC 2021 Scientist / Researcher, Prof Wayne Pitchford said he “was honoured by the award and was very thankful for those who nominated him and for the many years of support for projects from MLA, including his PhD scholarship from AMLRDC in the early 90’s”.

The Communication / Extension 2020 Award recipient Elke Hocking said “I feel very privileged to be recognised by SALRC for doing a job that I love. As both a livestock producer and consultant, I consider myself lucky that not only do I get to practice what I preach, but that I can also learn from the innovative producers within my groups, as well as from respected industry colleagues and mentors within my networks.”

Elke has been involved in the livestock industry for the last 25 years across livestock production, sheep and beef research, meat science, facilitation, adoption and communication.

“Learning is a continuous journey and if I can inspire someone coming into one of my groups to continue learning and improving themselves and their businesses into the future, then I feel like I have done my job. I’m also very passionate about ensuring that future livestock research is a collaborative effort between research organisations, industry, and the supply chain.  Also having producers involved in research projects and an extension plan built in right from the start, ensures that the research is relevant and provides an opportunity for producers to be directly involved in implementing and trialling potential solutions. ”

Tanisha Shields, Young Achiever Award recipient responded that she was “honoured to be nominated and to be receiving this award. I think my biggest achievement in the livestock industry is the wonderful producers and fellow professionals I have been able to meet and work with, which has formed the basis of what I am hoping will be a long and successful career in the livestock industry.”

The Awards were presented online on Wednesday 15th September 2021. SALRC will come to identify and recognise outstanding contributors to the red meat and livestock industries in future.