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Producers named to lead southern Western Australia livestock R&D

20 November 2015

Six Western Australian livestock producers who will drive the collection of research, development and adoption (R&D) needs from local regions across the south of the state have today been announced as producer committee members of the Western Australian Livestock Research Council (WALRC).

WALRC has been created as part of a new consultation model designed by industry to better capture grassroots producer feedback on where R&D investment is required. 

The group will join the Southern Australia Meat Research Council (SAMRC) and the existing North Australia Beef Research Council (NABRC) as key bodies to pass on feedback from producers to the Red Meat Panel for consideration in setting R&D priorities.  It is supported by MLA as well as co-investors CSIRO, University of Western Australia, Curtin University and Murdoch University.

MLA General Manager, Livestock Productivity, Jane Weatherley, said the committee members announced, from the southern regions of WA, would help their local producers have direct input into the investment of industry levies.

“MLA is committed to giving producers a much stronger role in determining the way their levies are spent and ensuring investment in R&D continues to deliver beneficial outcomes for industry in the short and long term,” Ms Weatherley said.

“Through the creation of WALRC we’re implementing a system that engages producers, others across the supply chain and co-investors.

“We have been delighted by the enthusiasm and commitment of the appointed committee members to get this process in motion, and the significant level of interest from grass-roots producers who’d also like to be involved.”

Erin Gorter has been named WALRC Coordinator and will be supported by the WALRC Producer Committee announced today including:

  • Craig Forsyth – Dongara
  • John Fry – Donnybrook
  • Jessica Horstman – Northampton
  • Gina Micke – Moora
  • John Wallace – Esperance
  • Mark Forrester – Nullarbor

Ms Gorter encouraged producers throughout southern WA to speak directly with their local committee members to help make sure the consultation process is successful in identifying R&D priorities.

“WALRC presents an exciting chance to build transparency and collaboration across the industry on prioritising R&D and is a clear pathway for producers to have a say on what they would like done in their patch to increase the productivity and profitability of their businesses,” Ms Gorter said.

“It is also exciting to see co-investment from across the Western Australian livestock industries in this process and the partnerships between universities, government and the private sector which can be formed to enhance R&D within the sector.

“What I want to emphasise to the industry is this is an excellent opportunity to have your say so please make the most of it.”

For more information on the new WALRC regional chairs

Committee Member Profiles

Erin Gorter – Coordinator

Erin has represented Western Australian producers on national bodies extensively in pasture and meat production systems and was recently elected to the board of Directors of MLA.  As principal of agVivo events she provides events management services to the agricultural sector and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors program.

Craig Forsyth

Craig is a cattle producer from ‘Avoca’ in the Dongara area approximately 400km north of Perth.  He and his family background 3000 cattle which are on-sold to other producers in addition to maintaining a core breeding herd of 300.  Craig is chair of the Mingenew Irwin Group which focuses on local R&D, environment and education.   A long-running interest in R&D inspired Craig to become part of WALRC to help drive R&D within the Western Australian livestock industries.

John Fry

John is a beef producer from Donnybrook who specialises in breeding and finishing yearling cattle.  He holds a particular interest in value-based marketing and the use of initiatives such as Meat Standards Australia to drive price signals.  He is committed to encouraging producers to adopt science to improve business performance. John is a former Nuffield scholar, a former WA Beef Improvement Association chairman served as WA representative on the Beef CRC 2 Advisory Committee.

Jessica Horstman

Jessica farms with her parents on 3200ha near Northampton where they operate a poll merino stud, run poll dorset crossbred lambs and crop 1300ha.  She holds a Bachelor of Land Management from the University of Sydney and a Graduate Certificate in Agriculture from the University of New England and has previously worked for the Department of Agriculture and Food as a hydrologist.  Jessica is also one of a select group of Australian wool growers to feature in a series of short films made on behalf of Australian Wool Innovation.

Gina Micke

Originally from Moora, Gina has extensive animal production and R&D experience including a PhD in beef cattle nutrition from The University of Queensland. A degree in veterinary science led her to work in clinical practice in NSW, Queensland and the UK before returning to WA to apply her knowledge of livestock management, health and nutrition to roles in corporate agribusiness. Her current role with the West Midlands Group as Livestock Production and Innovation Manager and her continued involvement in her family's sheep operation give her a thorough understanding of the practicalities and challenges faced by the livestock sector.

John Wallace

John runs 6000ha of cattle, sheep and grain in the Esperance region as part of a family partnership operation.  He has a long-standing commitment to R&D and improvement of the livestock industries through his involvement in the Association for Sheep Husbandry, Excellence, Evaluation and Production Group.  He is the current Meat President of the Western Australian Farmers’ Association, is chair of Grain and Graze program in WA and sits on the Sheepmeat Council of Australia.

Mark Forrester

Mark runs around 8000 cattle on two certified organic pastoral properties on the Nullarbor. He is committed to the forming of partnerships between likeminded producers, processors and retailers with the aim of encouraging and developing an effective, profitable and durable Western Australian Organic Beef supply Chain. He is a member of the WA Beef Council.

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