CEREAL scientist Graham Crosbie's significant contribution to the agricultural industry was acknowledged yesterday, with his portrait joining the walls of the Royal Agricultural Society of WA (RASWA) Hall of Fame.
Established in 1999, nominees are inducted into the Hall of Fame based on their agricultural achievements, skill and their impact on the WA agriculture sector.
Speaking at the unveiling, RASWA president David Thomas said Mr Crosbie was a pioneer of the WA noodle wheat industry and his skill was a chemist of high quality yield wheat and noodles.
"His negotiations between growers and the Japanese flour mill industry resulted in WA becoming a leading world supplier of noodle wheat to Japan and South Korea," Mr Thomas said.
Mr Crosbie, whose family and friends also attended the unveiling and afternoon tea held by RASWA, said he had been fortunate to have had an interesting career in agriculture.
He started at the Department of Agriculture at age 17, although he said his interest in agriculture started earlier, when, at 12 years of age, he fenced off a section of the chook run in the backyard of our home in South Perth to grow some wheat.
In 1960 Mr Crosbie became a laboratory assistant at the department before transferring to the government chemical laboratories in 1964 and the returning to the department in 1968 to commence a professional career as a cereal chemist.
Mr Crosbie said he first became interested in Japanese noodles when one of his colleagues from the department, Jack Toms, visited Japan in 1971 and returned with valuable technical information.
When Mr Crosbie became the officer-in-charge of the Grains Products laboratory, he travelled to Asia where he said he made some important friendships.
"Two people who helped me set up a visiting experts' program in 1990 were Dr Seiichi Nagao, Japan's most noted Cereal Chemist, who headed research at Nisshin Flour Milling Company
Ltd, and Mr Hiroshi Sawada, Chairman and CEO of Nippon Flour Mills, now Nippn Corporation," Mr Crosbie said.
"Another good friend is Shunsuke Otsubo, a chemist at Nippn but now retired, who was one of our early visiting experts, with whom I still keep in close contact."
Mr Crosbie said he also highly valued his links with the WA Noodle Wheatgrowers Association (WANGA), a group of farmers from the Mullewa area, who contacted him in March 1989 for the introduction of a noodle wheat segregation and separate pooling of that wheat to capture dwindling supplies of key wheat varieties, particularly Gamenya, with the segregation commenced the following harvest..
"Gamenya had been the leading variety for 20 years but was now being rapidly replaced by higher yielding varieties having lower quality for udon," Mr Crosbie said.
"Then WANGA, and particularly John Hawkins, joined me in debating with AWB (Australian Wheat Board) in regard to the introduction of separate pooling - this was to ensure growers received the full market return for their wheat - and AWB finally agreed to this in 1992/93."
Mr Crosbie retired in 2009, however still acts as an adviser and mentor for the State's grains industry.
WA Governor Kim Beazley also attended the unveiling of the 2021 Hall of Fame Inductee portrait, his last official event before he finishes the role in June.
Mr Beazley commended Mr Crosbie for his work, saying he had done the "equivalent of selling ice to the English".
"By quite literally using his noodle, Mr Crosbie developed specialised wheat products in Japanese and Korean markets," Mr Beazley said.
"There can be no more discerning place on earth for these products - god bless them, they are brilliant consumers and they are the fussiest consumers on earth, and so they should be.
"To penetrate the markets of those that have a discerning palate for wheat of the highest quality - well that's just stunning.
"Fine diners in the ramen restaurants of North Asia are now tucking into our wheat noodles and that's paired with our fine wagyu beef and maybe even washed down with our fine beers and wines - a bloke gets hungry just thinking about it."
Artist Tatyana Soboleva, who was commissioned to do the portrait, also attended the official unveiling.
The Agricultural Hall of Fame is open to the public during the Perth Royal Show and at other times of the year for group visits.
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