The Grassland Society of Southern Australia has appointed an executive officer for the first time in many years.
Millicent woman Paris Bell has taken on the role, bringing a background of farming, banking and agribusiness experience to the position. Ms Bell lives with her husband Sam and son Harvey on a cropping and cattle property at Millicent and also operates a native flower business.
Board chair Meg Bell said the appointment reflected the strong standing of GSSA as the peak farmer organisation dedicated to transfer of information and technology related to grasslands in south-east Australia. “This is a big step for the society but the board looks forward to many positive outcomes this appointment will bring over the coming years,” she said.
“We remain a member-based organisation with a volunteer board, but having a paid executive officer will help us to make sure that members receive good value for their membership. “Paris will be able to support our branches in running local events and delivering projects, generating funding and forming new partnerships to deliver relevant activities and research.”
Ms Bell said she was determined to make a difference by driving growth and taking pressure off volunteers. “It’s amazing that a group of volunteers has achieved so much – hopefully I can step it up and expand that,” she said.
Ms Bell grew up on a cotton and cropping property managed by her parents near Moree in northern New South Wales and has experience working on family properties, as a governess on a cattle station, a banana farm in northern QLD and on dairy farms while studying a Bachelor of Agribusiness from Marcus Oldham College.
She has worked in retail, agribusiness and small business banking. “Agriculture is where my heart is,” she said. “I want to make sure members are active and involved and help local branches to organise events so farmers and agribusiness people can share their knowledge.
“I will be looking for funding for trials, research and information sessions and will be a contact point for anyone who wants to be involved in Grasslands or to enter new partnerships with the society.”