The Queensland Government has announced the appointment of an industry expert to work with landholders and industry to develop the newest irrigated cropping districts in Queensland.

Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Leanne Donaldson, as part of a $500,000 investment, has announced the appointment of Dr Lance Pendergast to work with landholders and industry in the Flinders and Gilbert catchments.

“Dr Pendergast will bring a wealth of experience to this area and through collaboration with industry will deliver results for the agricultural sector,” Ms Donaldson said.

Ms Donaldson said the government had made water available to landholders in the catchments to establish irrigated agriculture, and now it was time to focus on optimising economic returns.

“This is an exciting time in the history of north-west Queensland with the birth of an irrigated agriculture industry that has the potential to generate multi-million dollar returns for local economies.

“Crops such as cotton, rice, mungbeans, chickpeas and sorghum are already on the radar, however Dr Pendergast will apply some robust research to these, and other crops, to develop a suite of northern farming systems.”

Dr Pendergast said over recent years he had established close working relationships with growers within Central Queensland seeking to achieve improved production system efficiencies.

“I’m looking forward to assisting northern operators with the challenges ahead,” Dr Pendergast said.

The appointment of Dr Pendergast builds on the successful engagement initiated between DAF regional industry development staff and local government, producers, landholders and the producers of the Gulf Rivers including Flinders River Agriculture Precinct Group.

Dr Pendergast will start work from his base in Townsville in early April 2016.

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