Australian Mungbean Association

Australian-grown mungbeans have quality written all over them!

Mungbeans celebrated at the Australian Summer Grains Conference

Celebrating the contribution of agronomist Zoe McInnes to farming businesses and rural communities through the Zoe McInnes Memorial Agronomy and Study Tour Award were Mrs McInnes with award winner Janet Loechel and runner-up Belinda Chase, finalists Jordan McDonald, Andrew Millers and Steve Muller and award judges Joe Kochman and Paul McIntosh.

19 April, 2016

by Cindy Benjamin

Agronomists and agricultural advisors are a valued part of many family and corporate farming operations, assisting in crop and business management decisions.

At the 2016 Australian Summer Grains Conference the Australian Mungbean Association was proud to sponsor an award that recognised the contribution that experienced agronomists make to the farming enterprises they work for and to the broader industry and rural community.

President, Rob Anderson said that the Australian Summer Grains Conference industry partners inaugurated the Zoe McInnes Memorial Agronomy and Study Tour Award to honour Ms McInnes, an enthusiastic and passionate agronomist who was lost to the industry in 2013.

“Zoe’s work ethic and dedication to her clients was evident throughout her agronomy career,” said Mr Anderson. “She pursued excellence in her work and engaged in professional development opportunities, including becoming an Accredited Mungbean Agronomist.”

“The Australian Mungbean Association congratulates the five finalists for the inaugural award, who were nominated by clients and industry associations in recognition of their agronomic skill and their industry and community involvement,” he said.

“The judges’ decision was difficult as all finalists were excellent practitioners. Like Ms McInnes, the winner Janet Loechel and runner-up Belinda Chase both make huge contributions to their local communities and to the ongoing development of the summer grains industries. They are also both Accredited Mungbean Agronomists.”

Ms McInnes’ mother, Kaz McInnes, presented the award to Ms Loechel from Elders Ltd, Jandowae and Ms Chase from Dalby Rural Supplies, Dalby saying that her daughter had loved her work and being an integral part of the many Darling Downs family farming operations she supported.

Mrs McInnes also acknowledged the influence that experienced agronomists can have on the professional and personal development of young professionals as they gain knowledge and experience. Mentors such as Hugh Reardon-Smith, Jamie Innes and Paul McIntosh made a significant impact on Ms McInnes’ career while she was working for Landmark in Chinchilla.

In her acceptance speech at the ASGC Gala Dinner, Ms Loechel said she was honoured to receive the award and she felt it was poignant that she was now servicing many of the same clients Ms McInnes had in the Chinchilla-Durong-Jandowae district, making the award a very personal achievement.

Zoe McInnes Memorial Agronomy and Study Tour Award 2016 winner, Janet Loechel (centre) with award judge Dr Joe Kochman and ASGC chair Maree Crawford.

Ms Loechel and Ms Chase both plan to use the prize to investigate farming practices and innovations that could have application for their respective clientele. “I’d like to visit some larger operations and see the things they are trialling that could also be applicable to the smaller scale family farms in the Jandowae area,” said Ms Loechel.

The Australian Mungbean Association also took the opportunity at the ASGC Gala Dinner to show their appreciation of the outstanding efforts of Mark Schmidt to advance the Association’s Certified Mungbean Seed program.

Mr Schmidt has held numerous senior positions within the AMA during the 17 years he has been a member of the Association, including convenor of the Standards Committee, where he was instrumental in driving positive advancements in the development of the new standards for mungbeans. Now, as convenor of the AMA Seeds Committee, Mr Schmidt has led the Association through a period of record mungbean production and seed sales.

When presenting the Mungbean Industry Service Award, Mr Anderson said that Mr Schmidt had played a key role in reviewing the seed production protocols and introducing new seed producers to ensure the growing demands of the industry are met.

ASGC Mungbean Industry Award winner, Mark Schmidt (right) with Australian Mungbean Association president, Rob Anderson.

“Mark has always taken a very professional and ethical approach to his industry responsibilities, with a continual focus on achieving the most positive outcome for the broader industry,” said Mr Anderson.

“Mark and the Standards Committee have formulated the new standard parameters that make all accredited laboratories in Australia feel confident in classifying mungbeans. These Australian Standards are now recognised by growers, buyers and end users of mungbeans worldwide.”

The mungbean sessions at the Australian Summer Grains Conference were well attended with a high level of interest amongst delegates in a range of topics presented by marketers, researchers, agronomists and growers in a year of outstanding demand for Australian mungbean.

More information: