MANSFIELD’S Matt Mahoney has been announced as the new Grassland Society of Southern Australia president.
A well-known farmer and farm advisor in the North East, Dr Mahoney has been a member of the society since he left university.
As president, his goal is for the group to reinvent itself to help grow membership numbers.
However, Dr Mahoney said the Grassland Society needed to change to remain relevant in the modern farming world.
“Where we’ve come from historically as a society, and where we’re going to in the future, is possibly going to be completely different,” he said.
“We need to continue the good work the previous president and central committee have started to make on giving real value back to our members.”
The Grassland Society of Southern Australia has about 550 members and attracts about 200 people to its flagship annual conference.
Dr Mahoney, along with the central committee and branch committee members, would like to see the numbers grow significantly.
One significant change being considered is employing a part-time liaison person to help with important tasks – tasks which currently rely on volunteered time.
“Relying on volunteers is hard,” Dr Mahoney said.
“With a larger member base, it would be possible to resource a liaison officer, and with the right person we could support the branches better and continue to grow our membership.
“That will be a critical opportunity over the next year.”
Dr Mahoney was elected at the Grassland Society of Southern Australia’s annual general meeting at Millicent, South Australia, in July.
He replaces Hamilton’s Dr Steve Cotton as president.
Limestone Coast branch president Meg Bell was elected vice president.
Dr Mahoney graduated in agricultural science from Melbourne University and went on to complete his honours and PhD at La Trobe University, Bundoora.
He worked as a pasture agronomist for various companies before recently launching his own farm consultancy business, Agridome Consultancy, based in Mansfield.
Agridome advises farmers on agronomy and whole-farm planning, providing strategic and operational guidance to grow farm efficiency.
Dr Mahoney also has sheep and cattle on his farm in the same area.
“I know too well the importance of pastures and home-grown feed and the cost at which that ‘homegrown’ feed is produced,” he said.
He remains passionate about the Grassland Society.
“I’ve been in the society since I left university,” he said.
“I joined because of my passion for pastures – and it was a good connection to have when working for a pasture seed company.
“Once I got involved I got the bug and haven’t been able to give it up.”
The Grassland Society was formed in 1959 and has branches in Albury-Wodonga, Central Ranges, Central West, Gippsland, East Gippsland, and Western District in Victoria, Limestone Coast in South Australia, and Tasmania.
It provides a forum for the transfer of information, ideas and experiences in all aspects of grassland establishment, maintenance, utilisation, persistence and research.
During the coming year it will continue to organise regular MLA Pasture Updates for various regional branches along with other Grasslands activities.
For further information or to join, please visit the website www.grasslands.org.au.