Boosting agricultural sustainability

Nancy Roma Paech

Trustees of the Paech Estate, Cedric and Mary Holland hand the donation to Professor Mark Adams (left) and Professor Stephen Garton (right).

In 2011 research into sustainable agricultural science was given a huge boost with the announcement of a major bequest to the University of Sydney.

The unexpected gift of more than $8.6m was from the estate of the late Mrs Nancy Roma Paech, who grew up on the land but was never a farmer or grazier.

Professor Mark Adams, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, said “this is an extremely generous and far sighted gift which will have a transformational impact on the research to be conducted at our new Centre for Carbon, Water and Food”.

Mrs Paech was the daughter of a farming family from “Leeson” Station, Winton, in outback Queensland. She spent her early years on the station and her affection for rural Australia is thought to date back to that time. She was known to be interested in methods of crop production without the use of pesticides.

Trustees of the estate, Cedric and Mary Holland, said Nancy’s wish was that interest from her bequest be directed towards “financing research in matters pertaining to agricultural science”.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Professor Stephen Garton, said this gift would bring long-term positive benefits for the University. “Income from the bequest will fund the establishment of a new academic chair in Range Science which will focus on sustainability of inland Australian landscapes used for animal production.

“As well, there will be a number of visiting professorships, PhD scholarships and master’s scholarships, all named after Nancy Roma Paech.”