PAUL McIntosh walked through his first mung bean field way back in 1985 and had no idea how much potential there was in the humble little legume.
Fast forward 32 years and his contribution to its development as one of the country's most lucrative crops has been significant enough to earn him a coveted life membership in the Australian Mungbean Association.
Mr McIntosh is well known for his work with the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative and Pulse Australia, which the AMA is a member of.
Despite his regular presentations at AMA meetings and being the go-to guy for mung bean crops across the country, Mr McIntosh was never a member of the industry association.
That all changed at the Australian Mungbean Association annual general meeting, where the life membership was bestowed on Mr McIntosh in highly unexpected fashion.
He said he had long been linked with the AMA thanks to the body's membership within Pulse Australia, but had never actually joined as a member in all of his years of speaking at the association's meetings.
As such he was more than a little surprised at the honour.
"It was a bit of a shock,” Mr McIntosh said.
"I didn't give it one thought.
"I had two guest speakers and I was in and out, shepherding them around.
"(The AMA board were) all in there laughing and doing business and I'm out there talking to guest speakers when (AMA president) Mark Schmidt grabbed me.
"I had no idea about the honour and no idea about anything - I was a dummy.
"But there are some very highly regarded people who are already life members and it's very nice to be counted among their personages.”
AMA president Mark Schmidt said the association provided life memberships only to people who had made a significant contribution - and Mr McIntosh more than fit the bill.
"We thought it was timely because of Paul's work in the agronomy field to make him a life member,” Mr Schmidt said.
"Paul has always been an advocate of mung beans for a long time.
"In August last year we made an arrangement that Paul would provide two days of his time to the association.
"Part of Paul's roles and responsibilities is to assist the AMA in promoting mung beans, providing agronomic support, running any field days and also the pulse agronomy projects and chemical registrations.
"He's supposed to give us two days but he really goes over and beyond.”
Mr Schmidt said it was a rare honour, with only 12 life memberships bestowed in 30 years of the AMA.
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