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Dale Baker, fourth from right, in a canola crop with fellow GRDC Western Regional Panel members during the annual spring tour in 2005.
Brendon’s Baker Boy
THE caller didn’t come as a surprise, but the na- ture of the call did.
It was a hot summer’s afternoon early last month whenItookacallinmy car from long-time friend and former client Terry Enright.
For 30 years or so Ter- ry and I would regularly chew the fat, most often over the phone, sometimes over a coffee and typically in recent years at indus- try functions, perhaps at the University of Western Australia.
We’d usually reflect on good times past when we were both heavily in- volved with the Grains Research and Develop-
ment Corporation – me managing their commu- nications in the west for a decade – initially when Terry was Western Re- gional Panel chairman.
He later ascended to heady heights as chair of GRDC’s Board of Direc- tors.
Sometimes too it was down to business, liaising with Terry in his many ag- ribusiness roles, including chair of RIRDC (past), chair of Livecorp (current) and chair of Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (current).
Quite often, however, we’d refer to our mutual mate, ‘The Baker Boy’, aka Dale Baker, like Terry a GRDC stalwart and an Australian grains industry heavy lifter and big-time influencer.
Sadly, on this January day, Terry rang to tell me Dale had passed away at the tender age of 66.
Such news is always sad, but this came with news of tragic circumstances.
I shed a tear and Terry admitted he had too.
Of course I was shocked, having spoken to Dale on- ly a month or so before, after ‘hooking up’ him and his Kiwi wife Karin with a favourite former employee of mine Eam- mon Conaghan in New Zealand, where I know they shared a long holiday lunch, even longer stories, a few cold beers and some fine reds.
Dale was a ripper of a bloke who also happened to love his pigs, albeit it had been many years since he’d kept them when a mixed WA wheatbelt farmer decades ago.
I regularly shared my Australian Pork Newspa- per column and pig yarns with Dale and he often returned the favour with some of his own, I think embellished with a few porkies.
He particularly liked reading APN, which I sent him most months in his retirement at Albany.
Among many leader-
ship roles Dale took on with a farmer’s paddock practicality, his own dash of intellectual rigour and a visionary’s viewpoint, was inaugural chairman of InterGrain in 2007, the cereal breeding com- pany that evolved out of the WA Agriculture De- partment.
InterGrain was for a time a participant in the Pork CRC, with whom it worked closely in an effort to develop much- needed dedicated cereal feed grain varieties, espe- cially for here in the west where our cereals head overseas with a few sec- onds making it into feed- mills and piggeries.
A big, innovative and successful grain grower in the Hyden district in WA’s tough far-eastern wheat- belt, Dale was a founding member of the Kondinin Group and an early mem- ber of the GRDC’s West- ern Regional Panel and its long-term chair from 1999 to 2007.
A visionary as men- tioned, Dale predicted, long before many scien- tists and grain growers would or could, that her- bicide resistance loomed large as a significant in- hibitor to broadacre crop- ping.
He subsequently was one of the early drivers
of the establishment by GRDC and UWA of the WA Herbicide Resistance Initiative, which was so successful it expanded into a national program as the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative.
Dale also chaired the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genom- ics, Weeds CRC and Man- aging Climate Variability Program.
A true adventurer and lover of the land, Dale enjoyed exploring and his passion for travel took him and Karin all over the world after he took a step back from hands-on farming and his many de- manding industry leader- ship roles.
Had it not been for a strong and late Depart- ment of Foreign Affairs and Trade warning against
travel to Nairobi a few years ago, I was to have enjoyed a safari in Kenya with Dale and Karin.
We’d planned and paid, but alas it never eventu- ated.
But we did enjoy our planning, done over a few lunches, with good wines (Dale made his own in Albany) and always bril- liant banter and lashings of laughter.
I will miss answering my phone to Dale’s pre- dictable opening line of “it’s only the Baker boy”.
Dale is survived by wife Karin, children Philippa, Daniel and Fiona, as well as grandchildren Mia, Mason and Melina.
My heart goes out to them.
They were his life and his love.
RIP Baker Boy.
Production Manager
Westpork is Western Australia’s largest pork producer with over 120 employees spread across 11 sites. Due to a recent acquisition, an exciting opportunity has been created for an experienced Production Manager to help manage and oversee multiple sites.
We are currently seeking a self-motivated candidate to join our management team. The successful candidate will be a reliable, enthusiastic individual with strong written and verbal communication skills.
Main duties will include:
• Overseeingproductiononmultiplesites;
• Meetingcompanyproductiontargets;
• Managingdifferentproductionfacilitieswithinthe
• Assistingfarmmanagersandstaffmeettheir production targets;
• Motivatinganddirectingstaff;
• Communicatingwithkeystakeholders;and
• Maintainingateam-basedenvironment.
Skills and Experience required:
• Minimumof5yearsinarelevantandrecent management position;
• Exceptionalanimalhusbandryskillsandtheabilityto apply the highest animal welfare standards;
• SoundknowledgeofbothBreedingandGrowerpig management;
•                                                       Herd or equivalent); and
• Currentunrestricteddrivinglicence.
Expressions of interest should be emailed, with attached resume to: Richard Evison
Dale and Karin Baker with Terry Enright at a dinner to honour Dale’s service and achievements on behalf of graingrowers after he retired in December 2006 as chairman of GRDC Western Regional panel.
Page 6 – Australian Pork Newspaper, February 2019
A quality bloke, wheat quality was a lifetime passion for Dale Baker. That passion helped deliver a lot of high-yielding wheat into bins across Australia, including this CBH one in WA.

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