Dr Rex Williams, centre, accepts a Life Membership award from Australian Mungbean Association president Mark Schmidt and treasurer Brett McIntyre (Photo: Supplied)

December 5, 2019

A State Government scientist has been made a life member of the Australian Mungbean Association (AMA) to recognise his outstanding contribution to the mungbean industry.

It’s only the 12th time the AMA has awarded a life membership in its 33-year history.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said research led by Dr Rex Williams had helped the mungbean industry grow to is present $120 million production value.

“The work of people like Dr Williams is important because this kind of research helps our agricultural industries to grow and support rural jobs,” Mr Furner said.

“We are investing in research so our farmers can take on the world, and it is great to see scientists like Dr Williams recognised for their contributions to the industry.”

Dr Williams completed a PhD on mungbeans at the University of Queensland in 1989 under the guidance of AMA life members Professor Bob Lawn and Dr Bruce Imrie.

He also contributed to the development of Australia’s first dull green mungbean variety, “Satin”.

Dr Williams joined DAF in 2006 after two decades as a lucerne breeder in NSW, and soon reinstated his links with mungbeans as Director of the Queensland Government’s Crop Improvement unit.

AMA president Mark Schmidt said the mungbean industry was indebted to Dr Williams for his enthusiastic support over many years.

“The growth of the mungbean industry to its current five-year average value of over $120 million in export earnings is underpinned by agronomic research and the development of ever-improving mungbean varieties,” Mark said.

“Dr Williams has been a key player in achieving this, and we are pleased to recognise his contribution to the industry with this special award.”

DAF senior mungbean breeder Col Douglas said Rex’s outstanding research achievements delivered more than $10 of benefits to industry for every $1 of public funds invested in Queensland’s pulse research and breeding.

“Rex has contributed to the rise of Queensland’s tropical pulse industry, with record crops of both mungbean and chickpea worth half a billion dollars in 2016,” Col said.

“He has also supported the release of five – soon to be six – mungbean varieties, including ‘Crystal’ and ‘Jade-AU’, and five desi chickpea varieties; a pulse partnership with Queensland University of Technology to develop new knowledge and traits for chickpea and mungbean; and the development and extension of mungbean best management practice in Queensland.”

Footnote: Kingaroy readers would remember AMA president Mark Schmidt as a former sales manager at Bean Growers Australia. BGA supplies mungbeans to both the domestic and export markets. Unicorn Speciality Foods in Wondai also processes mungbeans in the South Burnett.

[UPDATED]

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