Arthur Rickards leaves a major legacy for Australian agriculture | L’Express Armidale



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Australian agriculture has lost one of its giants with the death of Arthur Rickards after a long battle with disease. Dr Rickards passed away in Armidale on Friday April 19. He was 77 years old. Philip Arthur Rickards OAM grew up in the countryside of Queensland where he was the 1957 State Junior Middle Distance Champion and one of the few who carried the Olympic torch for the 1956 and 2000 Olympics He loved the sport and was also a rifle shooting champion, but made his biggest mark in agriculture after earning a degree in agricultural science at the University of Queensland and post-graduate studies at the University of New England (A). Dr. Rickards established the Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI) on July 1, 1970, with two employees and many dreams of how to facilitate the adoption of new UNE technology in rural industries. Over the next four decades, under the leadership of Dr Rickards, ABRI developed and / or implemented many innovative technologies that made significant contributions to agriculture, especially the livestock sector. READ MORE: His list of accomplishments included launching the National Beef Recording Scheme in the 1970s. Big wins followed in the 1980s with the launch of the New England Computerized Livestock Marketing by Description ( which led to AuctionsPlus), the importation of cattle via Cocos Island (which has rejuvenated our genetic resources) and Breedplan which has become an international success. The 1990s saw the launch of Dairy Express, an advanced dairy herd registration system, the fortification of eggs with Omega 3, and the international commercialization of the Breed Registry and Breedplan systems. In the 2000s, the Internet Solutions information system was launched (which now receives millions of page views per month) as well as a certification service to provide quality control for genetic exports and several new systems for genetic testing. breeding and herd management. Dr Rickards retired in 2011, but continued in a part-time business director role at ABRI and even after its collapse in 2012 and subsequent battle with liver disease. By 2010, ABRI had extended Breedplan to 20 countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, and New Zealand. Dr Rickards was an opportunist and networker always willing to pounce on government funding for innovative projects or a department looking for a third party to provide genetic evaluation services. Alex McDonald, executive director of the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association (ARCBA), said Dr Rickards had been a tough but fair negotiator who never raised his voice. “He had great attention to detail, leaving nothing to chance,” he said. “Arthur had a vast network of contacts of undergraduates, academics, businessmen and former employees which he used extensively.” In 2016, he assumed the role of President of ARCBA, a leading body for breed associations that he founded with his great friend, Dick Vincent, WA. Dr Rickards received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1996 and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of New England in 2003, both awards were in recognition of his achievements and contribution to Australian agriculture. A memorial service will be held for Dr. Rickards at 11 am on Monday April 29 at Uniting Church in Armidale where he and his wife, Deidre, were married in December 1970. Deidre survives him with their two children, Alice and Gareth.




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