Judith and David Coffey
Chair in Sustainable Agriculture
Australia’s farmers of the future will have far greater potential to realise their goals, thanks to the generosity of Bowral residents David and Judith Coffey, who have donated $4 million to establish a Chair in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Sydney.
David Coffey, a pioneer of geotechnical engineering and farmer, sees the University of Sydney as a future leader in agriculture research. His conjunction of interests between agriculture and engineering has finally reached a kind of fruition with the funding of the Chair in Sustainable Agriculture.
“It’s going to be a very exciting time ahead,” Mr Coffey says. “Students are going to be able to carry on with their studies and develop the skills needed for fundamental research on sustainable agriculture.”
“I think it’s absolutely essential for sustainability research to be of high importance at the university,” he told the Southern Highland News, earlier this year. “The Chair of Sustainable Agriculture will make that a reality.”
Australia’s increasingly severe drought, floods and bushfires makes research of the country’s unique terrain even more urgent. Mr Coffey said the grant will benefit postgraduate research especially.
“I hope to see them develop new methods of growing crops in the harsh Australian environment. I also think they’ll come up with solutions to help with problems such as salinity and drought.”
Coffey believes that farming practices must also come fully into the ambit of researchers. “Future students need to develop crops that can better withstand fungus and pests.”
He’s hopeful that the University of Sydney will become a leader in agricultural research. “In the long term I hope the University will grow and develop in the field,” he said.
“I would like to see it become complementary to the CSIRO. This would be a big step forward.”
Thanks to Jed Kemsley and the Southern Highland News for material in this story.
For more information on establishing an Academic Chair please contact:
Phone: + 61 2 8627 8830