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Supporter Information: 

Charles Viertel established the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation in his Will. The Foundation was established for the benefit of charity; in particular, to benefit organisations or institutions involved in medical research into diseases, and the alleviation of hardship of the aged and the sick.

Charles also directed that money be given to charities with low administrative expenses. Other than its funding for medical research the Foundation almost exclusively directs its funding to Queensland-based charitable organisations or for the benefit of the Queensland community.

Website: www.viertel.org.au

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Omid Ansari

2022 Scholarship winner

Lessons from abroad to improve and expand Australia’s hemp industry

Dr Omid Ansari is the head of research at the largest hemp company in Australia, Ecofibre Ltd, and has been announced as a 2022 Nuffield Scholar.

With the generous sponsorship of the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation, Omid will analyse Canadian and possibly European hemp markets, to see what lessons they hold for Australia.

He will investigate how the implementation of improved agronomy practices and the availability of purpose-built machinery and technologies can help Australian growers to increase on-farm profitability.

“I will research how this magic crop can find its valuable position in rotation with other crops in Australia,” says Omid.

“For example, hemp needs much less water compared with cotton to produce the same yield. Introducing crops with better water-use efficiency in rotation with other crops to improve productivity and soil health in Australia is very important.”

He hopes his study will address the lack of hemp agronomy practices, which affects crop production across Australia.

“Any improvement and learning from this study will help growers to increase productivity and ultimately on-farm profitability. The actual outputs of this study will assist farmers to increase yield and have fewer failed crops.”

Omid says hemp could become a major cash crop for growers. He would like to see more commercial, larger acreages planted to hemp, leading to more economies of scale.

“The hemp industry is at its infancy stage in Australia, with a great potential to expand. Since the legalisation of hemp as a source of food in 2017 in Australia, the industry is rapidly expanding across different jurisdictions.”

Dr Omid Ansari’s 2022 Nuffield Scholarship is supported by the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation.

Ph: 0427 416 479

E: ansari.omid@gmail.com