The RGA was formed in the face of adversity in 1930 to unite the small group of pioneer rice growers into an effective and cohesive force. Today, the RGA is the collective voice of rice growers in Australia, representing around 1500 voluntary members. RGA President, Jeremy Morton, said the organisation represents growers on issues affecting the viability of their business and communities and works to ensure a profitable long term future for individual rice growers and their industry. “As part of this commitment to the industry’s long term future, every year for the past twelve years, the RGA has awarded two scholarships to the children or grandchildren of RGA members to assist with their tertiary education costs,” Mr Morton said. “The scholarships are named after two past leaders of the rice industry, Greg Graham and Peter Connor. Greg Graham was president of the RGA when he died suddenly on New Year’s Day in 1983. He was actively involved in the irrigation and rice industry, as well as his local community of Deniliquin,” he added.
The Greg Graham Memorial Scholarship provides $10,000 to assist a student with the costs of tertiary education. The Peter Connor Book Award is awarded to the runner-up of the Greg Graham Memorial Scholarship winner and consists of $3,000 to put towards the cost of books and course materials. “Peter Connor was a leading rice grower in the Coleambally area, and was vice president of the RGA as well as a board member of the Ricegrowers’ Co-operative Limited,” Mr Morton said. “We are grateful for the generous support of Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd and SunRice and are very pleased to be able to offer the scholarship/s in 2017. I would encourage university students who are studying agriculture related courses to apply for the scholarship,” Mr Morton concluded.
The Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia, Inc. (RGA) on an earlier occasion, welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement of an extension to the current Vesting and Sole and Exclusive Export Licence (SEEL), for a further five years, starting in 2017. Awarding of the renewal of rice vesting, that had been a critical focus point for the RGA in 2016, wouldn’t have been possible without the support given by rice growers, rice industry stakeholders, the local community and the broader agricultural industry. This decision will ensure the ongoing strength of the NSW rice industry and the delivery of benefits to rice growers, families, businesses and communities that the industry supports. The continuation of Vesting will allow the Australian rice industry to compete in the extremely challenging global rice market, despite being a very small player. During the Department of Primary Industries’ review of the arrangements, over 90% of the submissions received were supportive of the renewal.
RGA President Jeremy Morton said the outcome was a crucial win for the Australian rice industry. It will provide certainty for growers, maximise returns, and maintain the industry’s competitiveness in export markets. “We commend the Department of Primary Industries for running a well consulted and professional review,” said Mr Morton.