Agriculture and sustainability specialist Ingrid Roth, Narrabri, has supported rural industries, research organisations and communities around Australia over the past 25 years with her practical knowledge and expertise and this year, is awarded Rural Consultant of the Year as part of the 2023 Australian Farmer of the Year Awards.
Ingrid brings her practical knowledge and experience to her work with rural industry peak bodies, rural research and development corporations, research providers, and individual farmers and farm advisors in establishing research strategy, sustainability frameworks, communications, leadership, extension, and evaluation metrics.
In the last few years, Ingrid’s clients have included Horticulture Innovation, CSIRO Agriculture and Food, AgriFutures Australia, the Australian Nut Industry Council, Sugar Research Australia, CANEGROWERS, Grains Research and Development Corporation and Cotton Research and Development Corporation. Additionally, Ingrid co-owns and manages a successful 7000 tree cherry orchard and agritourism venture with a loyal following in Mudgee.
“Helping industry to prepare for their future through understanding the broader sustainability and reporting landscape or prioritising research is incredibly worthwhile,” Ingrid said. “I am primarily focussed on sustainability in cropping and horticulture, and specialised project work to support agriculture and rural industries.
“Working with research on the longer view, and also being hands-on as a grower engaging directly with our consumers drives my passion for Australian agriculture.”
Recently, it is Ingrid’s work in the horticulture industry that has garnered high praise.
Ingrid worked closely with Australia’s horticulture sector to deliver a robust, achievable sustainability framework that horticulture’s industries can now champion to share their stories.
Ingrid worked with horticultural industries to develop a sustainability framework that resonated with the needs of both industry and their stakeholders. The 40 separate and diverse horticulture industries and supply chain members were able to provide input and feedback into the project.
“Horticulture is such a fascinating and diverse sector that perhaps doesn’t get the full recognition it deserves and one of our biggest challenges has been in coming together enough to champion just how vibrant and progressive a sector it is,” Ingrid said.
“As retailers, food companies and the finance sector pledge environmental commitments, they are starting to ask for data from their supply chains.
“The sustainability framework aims to translate what this means for horticulture.
“We need to find simpler ways to meet these supply chain reporting needs so that growers can focus their energy on innovating to manage the quality and sustainability of their farming, but there’s real opportunity for horticulture.
“I regularly find myself checking back on how this relates to our own orchard.
“It certainly helps to live the many facets of a farming operation.”
Ben White, Kondinin Group’s General Manager of Research, said Ingrid’s ability to bring together the needs of the many industries of Australian was testament to her experience as a rural consultant.
“It is ambitious to bring numerous groups together, with all their requirements, and land on solid outcomes that can be implemented across the sector,” Ben said.
“Ingrid has succeeded in not only doing that, but in making sure it is relevant for each industry, which ultimately means greater support for initiatives as significant as this.”
Dr Anthony Kachenko, General Manager, Production and Sustainability R&D at Hort Innovation, said Ingrid delivered a high-quality sustainability framework with an impact across the entire horticulture industry.
“Australian horticulture is continuously adopting environmentally responsible tools and systems,” Dr Kachenko said.
“This initiative aims to support the industry share their sustainability credentials and stories, as consumers and investors increasingly ask for evidence of ethical and sustainable practises from their food producers” he added.
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