AN HISTORIC agricultural program has been given the flick.
Established in 1920, Australia's rice breeding program based at the Yanco Agricultural Institute has been axed, but not all hope has been lost for both industry and research alike.
However, a total of 13 staff who were employed as part of Department of Primary Industry's rice breeding program have been impacted as a result.
Nine staff decided to take a voluntary redundancy or a severance option.
The remaining four have been redeployed within DPI.
A spokesman from the NSW Department of Primary Industries confirmed the program was officially wound up on June 30.
"The NSW Department of Primary Industries has a long and proud history of rice breeding," the spokesman said.
Since its inception in 1920, the program developed 18 rice varieties, constituting more than 95 per cent of Australia's rice crop.
The program was the only one of its kind in Australia and was not only a solid employer in the shire, but assisted growers across the country, including in the Riverina and MIA.
The program was complemented by researchers working on cereal chemistry, crop nutrition, agronomy and pest management, as well as experts in technology transfer.
"Work based at Yanco Agricultural Institute recently focused on producing high-yielding temperate japonica rice varieties suited to local agronomic conditions for domestic and export markets," the DPI spokesman said.
The RGA, SunRice and AgriFutures have been working together to set up the new Research, Development and Extension Programs, which includes the establishment of a new breeding program.- RGA president Rob Massina
While the long-running program has been cut, work has been happening behind-the-scenes to ensure another can take its place.
AgriFutures Australia is partnering with SunRice and the Ricegrowers' Association of Australia (RGA) to develop a "roadmap" for a way forward.
RGA president Rob Massina gave some detail, but said more information would be forthcoming to the community in the weeks ahead.
"The RGA, SunRice and AgriFutures have been working together to set up the new Research, Development and Extension Programs, which includes the establishment of a new breeding program," he said.
"The rice industry is in the process of finalising arrangements for the new program and will be making announcements at the upcoming rice industry conference being held at Yarrawonga on August 11 and 12."