27 Oct 2023
Chair of the Farrer Memorial Trust and NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Director General Scott Hansen has announced Professor Richard Trethowan as the recipient of the 2022 Farrer Memorial Medal.
“Professor Trethowan is a well-deserved recipient of the Farrer Memorial Medal,” Mr Hansen said.
"His contribution to wheat genetic improvement has and continues to benefit the Australian and global industry, while his contribution to the education and guidance of students and early career researchers in Australia and around the world is significant.
“Professor Trethowan has supervised 19 successful PhD completions at The University of Sydney, with seven more post-graduate students currently under supervision.
“His research benefits not only NSW and Australia but has made real impacts on the global pursuit of food security,” said Mr Hansen.
Director of The Sydney Institute of Agriculture, Professor Brent Kaiser nominated Professor Trethowan for the Medal.
"Richard is a living legend in the grains industry, a world-leading plant breeder,” said Professor Kaiser.
“Developing cultivars for agriculture is the chief measure of impact for a plant breeder. 45 wheat cultivars have been directly released to farmers from Richard’s research across 13 countries.
“In addition, more than 150 wheat cultivars have been released globally containing one or more parents from his research, including genetic improvement for drought tolerance.
“The net contribution to global food production is immense and highlights the impact and importance of the work Richard carries out,” said Professor Kaiser.
The Farrer Memorial Trust was established in 1911 to perpetuate the memory of William James Farrer, one of the pioneers of agricultural research in Australia, and the Farrer Memorial Medal is awarded annually to provide encouragement and inspiration to those engaged in agricultural science.
Professor Trethowan said he was honoured to be the 2022 recipient and acknowledged the significance of receiving a medal named after William Farrer.
“I am a wheat breeder and have been for most of my career.
“As William Farrer essentially established the wheat industry in Australia, this acknowledgement has special significance for me.
“I have been a wheat breeder in Mexico, Victoria, Narrabri and now a wheat pre-breeder at The University of Sydney, and our research improves not only Australian wheat, but globally it contributes significantly to enhancing food security.
“I’m excited to continue to be involved in cutting edge research exploiting hybrid vigour to further increase productivity and yield potential by circumnavigating self-fertilisation, which will change how we breed and market wheat for Australia and the world.
The medalist is chosen by trustees of the Farrer Memorial Research Scholarship Fund each year from the ranks of those persons who have rendered distinguished service in agricultural science in Australia in the fields of research, education, or administration.
Professor Trethowan will receive the 2022 Farrer Memorial Medal at an event hosted by The University of Sydney on Thursday 16 November, where he will also deliver the traditional winner’s oration.
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