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Community and grower support

Community and Grower Support

In addition to the funding provided by CRDC to researchers for RD&E, funding is also available to cotton growers and community groups for specific programs - including Grassroots Grants, the Field to Fabric Training Course, the Cotton Production Course, the Future Cotton Leaders Program, the Young Farming Champions program, the Australian Rural Leadership Program, Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships, and the Horizon Scholarship.

Grassroots Grants 

The CRDC Grassroots Grants program encourages Cotton Grower Associations (CGAs) to apply for funding to support capacity building projects in their region.

Up to $10,000 in funding is available for CGAs to help fund a project aimed at increasing the engagement of growers in the industry, solving specific regional issues and improving their skills, knowledge base and networks. 

Since the Grassroots Grants program commenced in 2011, it has supported 52 projects across the cotton growing valleys. Click here for a full list of Grassroots Grant projects to date, or here to watch a video on one of the projects that has received Grassroots Grant funding: the purchase of weather stations to help growers in the Walgett area better predict weather events. 

Applications for the 2017-18 round will open on 1 July 2017, and close on 30 November 2017. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come first-serve basis during this granting period and once the funds have been fully allocated, no further projects will be approved. 

The Grassroots Grant program is managed by CRDC. Interested applicants must read the program's Guidelines for Applicants and return a completed Application Form to CRDC via Applications should include a timeline, accurate costings, the likely learning outcomes, and the overall benefits of the project for the industry. 

Field to Fabric Training Course

Have you ever wondered whether agricultural practices, storage, ginning and handling of cotton have an impact upon the quality of the end product? Then the Field to Fabric training course is for you.

The course, run by CSIRO’s Dr Rene van der Sluijs with funding from CRDC, looks at cotton quality and how it is managed at all stages of the cotton pipeline: from on-farm to the finished fibre product. The course is designed for all involved in cotton, from growers to technologists, and looks at how all segments of the industry operate and relate to each other.

The course program covers global perspectives, variety selection, agronomy, fibre properties, harvesting, ginning, classing, marketing, yarn manufacture, fabric formation, dyeing, finishing and printing, and environmental issues.

Questions regarding the course can be directed to Dr van der Sluijs via

Cotton Production Course 

The University of New England’s (UNE’s) Cotton Production Course is a set of four units that cover the production, crop protection and environmental management of cotton crops in the Australian industry. 

Developed by experts in the cotton industry and offered by distance education, the course is ideal for cotton growers, along with others in or interested in the industry (advisors, consultants, cotton processors, researchers and rural science/agriculture students). 

CRDC assists cotton growers and others within the industry to undertake the course by providing five part-scholarships, covering up to 50 percent of the cost of the four units, for each intake of the course.

Those interested must fulfil the entry requirements of UNE to undertake the course (UNE will independently determine if growers and others are eligible to take the course, while CRDC will determine separately who shall be eligible for, and receive, one of the five part-scholarships).  

For more information, or to apply for the Cotton Production course, contact UNE course coordinator, Brendan Griffiths via  

Future Cotton Leaders Program

Are you committed to the future of the cotton industry, and interested in developing your leadership knowledge, skills and experience? Then you may be interested in the Future Cotton Leaders Program - an initiative of Cotton Australia in partnership with CRDC.

The Future Cotton Leaders Program is recognised as the premier leadership development program for the Australian cotton industry. Course participants have the opportunity to hear from industry leaders, get advice and information to help guide their future from inspiring speakers and meet likeminded people from within the industry, helping them to build their networks and relationships. 

The course runs bi-annually, with applications open early every second year. The next Future Cotton Leaders Program will run in 2018. For more information, contact program facilitator Jo Eady on 0419 912 879 or via

Young Farming Champions

The Young Farming Champions are identified youth ambassadors and future influencers working within the agriculture sector. The Young Farming Champions program is run by Art4Agriculture, with the Champions promoting positive images and perceptions of farming, and engaging in activities and innovative programs under the Art4Agricutlure banner, such as The Archibull Prize. The Champions are passionate about their respective industries.

In 2017, CRDC formed a new partnership with Art4Agriculture to continue the Young Farming Champions program in cotton. For more information, download this flyer or visit the Art4Agriculture website.

Australian Rural Leadership Program 

CRDC is a proud supporter of the prestigious Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP), Australia’s iconic rural leadership development program, helping to produce a network of informed, capable and ethical leaders working to enhance rural Australia. 

The program works to improve the capacity of rural leaders to engage wherever a challenge is best addressed, and wherever they can contribute most effectively. Now in its 22nd year (with a 700-strong network of fellows), the ARLP is a scholarship-based program with a national, competitive selection process held each year. 

CRDC proudly sponsors up to two cotton industry leaders per intake into the ARLP in partnership with Cotton Australia and Auscott, and encourages all with leadership roles or aspirations within the cotton industry to apply. In 2015-16, CRDC, Cotton Australia and Auscott supported Sean Boland, Moree, and Jamie Iker, Emerald, to undertake the program; in 2016-17, Matt Bradd, Sydney, and Meagan Laidlaw, Brisbane; and in 2017-18, Timothy Chaffey, Quirindi, and Richard Malone, Griffith.  

For more information on the ARLP, or to apply for the next Course, visit the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) website or call 02 6281 0680. CRDC is also a proud sponsor of two additional ARLF programs - TRAIL and TRAILblazer, supporting two cotton industry participants per year.

Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships

Nuffield Australian Farming Scholarships is a unique program that awards primary producers with a life-changing scholarship to travel overseas and study an agricultural topic of choice. 

Considered the leading program for primary producers in Australia, Nuffield has been providing scholarships for farmers for over 60 years, building a network of 300 Australian scholars who have extended their knowledge and skills through their experience in global agriculture. 
Scholars are selected annually and must demonstrate that they are committed and passionate about farming and fishing, are at the leading edge of technology uptake, and are potential future leaders in the industry. 
CRDC is a proud supporter of the Nuffield Scholarship program, supporting one cotton grower annually to undertake the program in partnership with Cotton Australia. In 2016-17, CRDC and Cotton Australia supported Daniel Kahl of Wee Waa NSW as a Nuffield Scholar; and in 2017-18, Luke McKay of Kununurra WA. Applications for the Scholarships open on 1 April and close on 30 June annually. For more information on Nuffield, or to apply for a Scholarship, visit the Nuffield Australia website.

Peter Cullen Trust Leadership Program

The Peter Cullen Water and Environmental Trust runs an annual Science-to-Policy Leadership Program for people actively involved in water systems management – be it river or catchment, rural water or environment science or policy.

The unique program is focused on leadership and communication skills specifically aimed at bringing about positive change in water and catchment management in Australia.

Selection is competitive and based on six criteria: ability to think strategically in a big picture context; understanding of the political arena/process; capacity to influence policy; evidence of leading change through collaboration; future aspirations of leadership; and willingness and ongoing commitment to personal learning.

CRDC and Cotton Australia are proud sponsors of the Leadership Program, providing support for a cotton industry representative to participate. There are two application processes available: directly to the Trust, or via the sponsors. Direct applications close in May each year, while industry sponsored closing dates are via negotiation. Those interested in applying for the cotton industry position within the Leadership Program are encouraged to contact CRDC on 02 6792 4088.

Once the program is complete, successful participants graduate as Fellows of the Peter Cullen Trust. The Australian cotton industry currently has six Fellows: Juanita Hamparsum, Susan Madden, Brendon Warnock, Brendon Barry, Jane Trindall and Luke Stower.

For more information, visit the Peter Cullen Trust website

Horizon Scholarship

The Horizon Scholarship has been developed to support the next generation of agricultural leaders, who will take up the challenge of farming for the future. The scholarship is for young people who are passionate about agriculture, with a keen interest in the future of the industry, and who are ready to expand their networks and learn new skills.

The Horizon Scholarship is an initiative of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) that, in partnership with other RDCs and industry sponsors, supports undergraduates studying agriculture at university by providing a bursary, professional development workshop and work experience.

In 2015-16, CRDC supported 12 Horizon scholars. For more information, visit the RIRDC website