GRAIN Producers SA today recognises the contribution to the grains industry of SA of Maitland grower Neil Smith who has sadly passed away at the age of 71.
Chief executive officer Darren Arney said Neil had served the South Australian grains industry for 40 years in various roles and had been keenly aware of the importance of soil fertility and health.
“Neil managed the family farm east of Maitland, growing durum, wheat, barley, canola, pulse crops and vetch, but ensured the farm maintained a focus on green-manuring and trash retention for soil fertility and health,” he said.
“He initiated a long-term tree planting program with more than 20,000 trees established on the property, which won an environmental award. He also kept another site near Port Wakefield for spring grazing which was 100% native shrub vegetation.
“His involvement with the grains industry began in 1975 as a member of the United Farmers and Graziers Grain Section. He also served as a councillor for the District Council of Central Yorke Peninsula.”
Later roles included as a member of the Advisory Board of Agriculture, the SA Barley Research Committee, the SA Committee of the GRDC, the Native Vegetation Authority and the Natural Resources Council. He chaired the Soil Conservation Council of SA from 1990 to 1996 and was a member of the Southern Regional Panel of GRDC from 1994-2003.
Neil was also a member of the Minnipa Advisory Committee which later formed with the Minnipa Agricultural Foundation to create the Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation (EPARF), of which Neil was an inaugural member.
Darren Arney, Chief Executive Officer, 0448 186 707