ONE of Horsham’s most important and iconic facilities is turning 50 this year.
The Grains Innovation Park was established in 1968 by a group of passionate Wimmera farmers who were a part of the Victorian Wheat Research Foundation – now called the Wheat Research Authority.
The park is perhaps most famously known for being home to the Australian Grains Genebank – a world-class facility where hundred of thousands of grain varieties are stored.
It’s a vital facility that helps future-proof Australia’s – and to a larger extent, the world’s – food security.
The team at the genebank work with researchers from Norway’s famous “Doomsday” Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
They also work with farmers and industry leaders from across the country to develop new and improved grain varieties to keep up with climate change and consumer needs.
Speaking to scientists, researchers and park employees this week, it became clear that the genebank is only a small fraction of the work that happens at the site.
It is also home to a number of agriculture-focused government agencies.
The site employs more than 150 people from across the country and the world.
Community members interested in learning more about the park and all the incredible work that happens at the site can head along to the centre on October 18.
The day will include a range of tours around various aspects of the site, demonstrations and a celebration of the centre’s 50 years.
People will also get the chance to explore the Australian Grains Genebank and Plant Phenomics Victoria facility, and Heritage Crop field demonstrations,
Park research director and centre leader Traci Griffin said she hoped the day would inform the community about the vital work that happened at the site.
“This anniversary celebration is about reconnecting with the community to show them all the amazing work that goes on here by our hard-working team,” she said.
“On average, we have about one tour a week ranging from school groups to international researchers.
“This day will give the Wimmera the chance to see what the park is all about.”
It will be a great chance to get out and learn about the exciting things that are happening in our own backyard.
Jade Bate, senior journalist