Home' Grower : Dec 2013 - Jan 2014 Contents The South Australian Grower -- December 2013/January 2014 11
Towards a common cause
THE almond industry has come
a long way in the past 50
years, and many people have
contributed to these changes.
They have provided direction,
pushed the boundaries, taken
calculated risks and tried new tech-
niques, technology and varieties
and, in doing so, kept the industry
focussed and competitive.
The Almond Board of Australia
has been recognising such contri-
butions through its Hall of Fame.
This year it chose Jubilee Almonds'
Tony Read and JB Robinson's Ben
Robinson as its sixth and seventh
The official presentation was
made at the 15th Australian almond
conference dinner on October 30.
They each received a framed copy
of their award and a copy of the
DVD played during the night.
Here is a profile:
Tony Read contributed to the
Australian industry in several
leadership roles during periods of
transition for the industry and its
representative bodies. He has also
been a significant figure in the pio-
neering of large broadacre almond
orchards, on which the modern
Australian industry has progressed
rapidly to become the world's
second largest producing country.
In 1972, Tony became associ-
ated with the almond industry
through establishing the irrigation
infrastructure for new orchards
at Lindsay Point for the Almond
Co-op. This ignited his interest in
In 1985, Tony and Paul Martin
reviewed the lessons learned from
the Lindsay Point development and
started plans for a major project that
developed into Jubilee Almonds, a
464-hectare planting established at
Waikerie in 1987.
He was also heavily involved
in the establishment of Century
Orchards, a company operating
a 650ha almond and wine grape
enterprise at Loxton.
Tony has played a major role in
the Australian almond representa-
tive bodies, serving as a Director
of the Australian Almond Growers
Association from its inception in
1996, and held the position of
Chair from September 1998 until
Tony, together with the AAGA
committee chairpersons, developed
the Almond Board of Australia
Constitution and saw it successfully
adopted in November 2002.
The foundations for the Almond
Board of Australia structure and
expanded industry development
role were also put in place under
Tony's period of stewardship.
Dr Ben Robinson
Ben Robinson was widely recog-
nised throughout his career as a
horticulturist of great knowledge
and expertise but importantly, it
was his service to industry that is
celebrated, a role often undertaken
in a volunteer capacity and charac-
terised by personal anonymity.
Ben received his Bachelor of
Agricultural Science with honours
in 1963. In 1964, he was granted
a Barr Smith Travelling Scholarship
in Agriculture from the University
of Adelaide and was awarded his
PhD in Botany at Cambridge
University in 1967.
In 1971, Ben returned to the
South Australian Department of
Agriculture where he held several
senior horticultural research roles
until 1989. During this period, he
spent most of his time investigating
fertiliser use and plant nutrition
in perennial horticultural crops,
vegetables and floriculture; and
soil acidification in orchards and
Ben's passion for R&D, extension
and developing the technical skill
set of industry was most certainly
one of his greatest contributions.
His contacts with overseas research-
ers meant the industry had access to
latest R&D findings.
Ben's greatest achievement was
his commitment to collaboration.
Most notable was in the late 1980s
and early 1990s, after the forma-
tion of Horticultural Research &
Ben and other key stakeholders
met with various industry factions
to try and establish a R&D levy, and
then in 1990 he was engaged by
industry and prepared a discussion
paper, Research and Development
Funding for the Australian Almond
Industry. This work was a sig-
nificant contribution that began the
development of a strong and united
almond industry which resulted in
the Almond Board of Australia.
Details: Presentation videos are available
at Almond Board of Australia's YouTube
Jubilee Almonds' Tony Read is the sixth inductee into the Australian
Almond Industry Hall of Fame. He is with Almond Board of Australia
chairman Neale Bennett.
JB Robinson's Ben Robinson is the seventh inductee into the Australian
Almond Industry Hall of Fame.
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