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On behalf of the Australian Society of Agronomy and the Conference Organising Committee, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the 14th Australian Agronomy Conference in Adelaide 2008. The theme of this conference “Global Issues – Paddock Action”, signals our intention to highlight the important role of agronomy in providing practical solutions to many of the big challenges facing agriculture today.

Delegates will be familiar with many of these global issues; food security, climate change, water scarcity, energy security, and rising input costs; to name a few. In a sense, these issues have contributed to a growing appreciation of the future role for agronomy. We hope that through your active participation in this exciting and timely conference you will leave with a deeper understanding of this future role, and renewed vigour in your professional practice.

The Conference organising committee has developed a fresh and innovative programme. There are six plenary sessions featuring leading national and international speakers. Each plenary session is followed with concurrent paper and poster sessions where delegates can hear the latest information in their areas of interest.

A number of innovative sessions have been included. A conference forum will address the question, “What will Australian farms look like in 2020”, and is sure to stimulate a lively debate.

The relevance of research to commercial agronomists will be assessed each day in review sessions, “Useful or useless: the agronomist’s harvest from the concurrent sessions”.

The Young Agronomists Award, introduced in Perth 2006, will be continued in Adelaide. As always, a highlight of the conference will be the presentation of the prestigious Donald Medal followed by the Donald Oration.

Selected plenary and invited papers from 2008 will be published in a special edition of the Australian Journal of Agricultural Research (Crop and Pasture Science).

The Australian Society of Agronomy Conference online proceedings from the 1st Conference held at Gatton in 1980 to the 14th Conference here in Adelaide in 2008, will be launched in our opening session.

I wish to thank the organising committee for their enthusiasm and creativity. It has been a pleasure to develop and manage the conference with your support. The committee was well supported by the conference organiser, Esther Price Promotions, and the Society publisher and website manager, The Regional Institute.

The generous support of our sponsors GRDC, Incitec Pivot, CSIRO, SARDI, ACPFG, ACIAR and Future Farm Industries CRC, is gratefully acknowledged.

Lastly, I wish to thank the members of the Australian Society of Agronomy for your support in attending our conference. Your participation is the key to a successful conference. I thank you for the opportunity and privilege of serving as president and chair of the organising committee.

I trust you will be informed, challenged and stimulated over the next few days.

Dr Bill Bellotti
President, Australian Society of Agronomy, 2008

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