SA Drought Hub announces appointment of Director

The South Australian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub has announced the appointment of the University of Adelaide’s Dr Stephen Lee as its Director.

Dr Lee starts in the new role on Monday 24 January, and will be based at the Hub’s headquarters at the University of Adelaide’s Roseworthy campus.

He takes over from the Hub’s Interim Director, Professor Chris Preston.

Dr Lee was previously Partnerships Manager for the University of Adelaide’s Davies Livestock Research Centre, which is part of the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.

Dr Lee says he is excited to be leading an initiative that will create measurable change and benefit for farmers and communities across South Australia.

“I am looking forward to working with all of the Hub’s partners and key stakeholders to ensure the Hub generates a long-term legacy on-farm and within regional communities,” he said.

Led by the University of Adelaide and in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA), the SA Drought Hub is one of eight Hubs established across the nation in 2021 through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.

The Hub consists of a comprehensive and collaborative network of 59 industry partners, including grower groups; the three South Australian-based universities; government agencies; indigenous partners; agribusinesses; research, development and extension partners; and industry organisations.

The Hub’s stakeholders will co-design and deliver demand-driven activities that focus on innovation and adoption to build farmers’ drought resilience and that of regional communities.

Dr Lee brings to the new role a wealth of expertise and experience in developing collaborative research and development programs that drive productivity and profitability within the livestock industry. Other notable recent positions he has held include manager of the SA Sheep Industry Blueprint and SA Beef Industry Blueprint.

“I relish the opportunity to work with farmers and industry partners to create beneficial impact, particularly across farming systems, and as Director of the SA Drought Hub I am eager to extend my experience in the livestock sector to agriculture more broadly in SA,” said Dr Lee.

“I look forward to fostering relationships with the diverse stakeholder base of the SA Drought Hub to help build drought resilience.”

Dr Lee thanked Professor Chris Preston for the enormous amount of work he has undertaken as Interim Director to successfully establish the Hub.

“Chris and the Hub team have laid the foundation for the Hub and led an extensive statewide consultation process that has informed the Hub’s operational and investment plans,” said Dr Lee.

“So much groundwork has already been done – I now look forward to ensuring the delivery of practices, technologies and activities for strengthening drought preparedness and resilience across South Australia.”

The Hub is in the process of appointing Node coordinators and a Node team leader – further boosting SA regional employment and investment.

The Hub comprises the Roseworthy headquarters and five regional Nodes at Minnipa on Eyre Peninsula, Port Augusta in the Far North, Orroroo in the Upper North, Loxton in the Riverland, and Struan in the South-East. Shopfronts for each of the Nodes are also being established.

More information about the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund is available at www.agriculture.gov.au/fdf

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