David Phelps, ARS President and Director, DAF Office Landsborough Hwy Longreach Qld 4730.
Email: david.gphelps@bigpond.com

On behalf of all members of the Australian Rangeland Society, I would like to thank John Taylor for his pivotal role as President of the ARS Council for the last 8 years. John brought experience as a scientist, manager and educator from a long and illustrious career. This shone through in his balanced and broad view of ‘promoting the science and art of rangeland management’, which is the mission of the ARS. John was very well supported by a capable and experienced Council, and our thanks go to the outgoing Council members Peter Marin, Graeme Tupper, Ben Forsyth and Annabel Walsh.

The incoming Council was elected at the AGM on 21 May 2015, and I welcome all new and continuing members. Council has held its first meeting, and the experience and enthusiasm already shown suggests the management of the ARS is in good hands for the next 4 years. Council meetings are held by teleconference to minimise the cost to the ARS, and to foster a geographically diverse membership on Council. Conference years allow Council to meet in person, as well as provide the opportunity for conduct well attended General Meetings.

Congratulations and sincere thanks must go to the organising committee of the 18th ARS Conference held at Alice Springs in April. Attended by over 350 people from diverse backgrounds and roles in our rangelands, it lived up to its theme of ‘Innovation in the Rangelands’. This is the first ARS Conference to post key-note presentations on YouTube and the first to have a live Twitter feed. The audience was obviously Twitter-savvy, with the conference hash-tag (#ARSConf2015) trending very well across Australia, as well as overseas. Well done to the Conference Chair, Pieter Conradie, and your dedicated team for a very successful conference.

Innovation is also afoot in the way ARS Members will be able to network, communicate and collaborate. The new look ARS website is launching as you read this, with integrated Social Media tools at its core. Networking is one of the top reasons that rangeland professionals become ARS Members, and we hope our new on-line presence allows your networks to grow and prosper. The Publications Committee have done a great job in bringing the new web-site on-line.

I am certainly looking forward to continuing the conversation on-line, I hope you are too!