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Goat committee gets up and running

12 February 2019

MLA has announced the formation of the new Goat industry research, development and adoption committee (GIRDAC). The Committee is an advisory group set up by MLA to provide recommendations on research and development (R&D) and extension and adoption (E&A) initiatives and investments for the Australian goatmeat and livestock industry. It comprises of commercial goat producers with value chain and subject matter experts.

An open call for applications was held in late 2018 and the Committee members have now been confirmed. Committee members were selected via an open and transparent selection process, chosen for their skills and expertise by an MLA selection panel. The Committee will review RD&A funding proposals, progress of existing projects and results of those concluding. This Committee process delivers independence, quality, objectivity and transparency to project review and selection by MLA. Members are:

Chair, Tim Johnson, Bakers Hill WA Tim has a long history of involvement in the goat industry. For 41 years he was employed by the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) in Perth which included approximately 30 years as the department’s goat specialist. He now runs a cereal and livestock farm and consults to the livestock industry. Tim has experience and contacts across the whole supply chain from working with producers regarding management and handling of rangeland goats through to developing specifications acceptable to butchers for Capretto carcases. Tim is a strong advocate for the goat industry and served on the Western Australian Goat Meat Industry Council (WAGMIC) for many years. He has extensive experience in the development and review of projects.
John Falkenhagen, Meningie SA As President of the Goat Industry Council of Australia (GICA) John provides a linkage to that organisation. John with his wife Bec, run a commercial goat dairy near Meningie SA with approximately 1,200 registered dairy goats. John is passionate about self-improvement, pushing the production boundaries, promotion of the opportunities within the goat industry and sound science which can be implemented on farm. To read more about John and Bec’s operation:
Dr Colin Ramsay, Quandialla NSW Colin is based near Quandialla, NSW, and runs Dorpers, Boer goats and cropping. He has extensive scientific and financial research experience at senior levels along with 25 years in the goat sector. Colin is passionate about genetic improvement for commercial gains and improved control and management of parasite burdens. Colin has a long history of investing in others and sharing his knowledge and experience. Readers may remember Colin from MLA’s recently published goat video series:
Kylie Hopkins, Glendale QLD Kylie Hopkins and her fiancé operate an Anglo Nubian dairy near Glendale, Queensland, and Kylie is also employed with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in Rockhampton as a beef extension officer. One of Kylie’s passions is seeing extension done well – getting the right information out to people at the right time in a way that makes sense. Kylie has demonstrated commitment to promoting the benefits of goat ownership and providing local advice on nutrition, husbandry and health through workshops, community events and farm visits.
Nick van den Berg, Blackwood, South Australia Nick has travelled the world (and Australia) on the back of the goat industry; from meat goats in Texas, Angoras in Africa and exporting rangeland goats to a Malaysian feedlot. Nick runs a flock of 300 Angora goats and tours the country shearing.  He’s worked on cattle studs and lamb feedlots, as well as coaching a National Intercollegiate Meat Judging team. He’s also involved in meat science research trials.
David Brown, Wagga Wagga NSW David’s from a family farm in north west NSW where managed and un-managed goat sales contribute significantly to business income. David has spent the last eight years working as a farm business advisor for NSW-based firm Holmes Sackett, where he honed his skills in understanding and leveraging targeted, cost-effective investment in capacity building and productivity.
Cathy Zwick, Cooladdi, QLD Cathy has a strong science and practical natural resource management background (particularly in a rangelands context). Cathy and her partner Brett McDonald operate a property in the Mulga rangelands of western Queensland. They moved from opportunistic harvesting, to semi managed farming of rangeland goats and Boer goat crosses and now to fully managed farming of Red Kalaharis as a stud and farming of Nubian/Kalahari crosses and Rangeland crosses for the export meat market. Cathy understands the needs and issues in the commercial production of rangeland goats and has excellent people skills. Cathy and Brett have previously hosted a goat producer field day and featured in MLA’s goat best practice videos:
Craig Stewart, Collie NSW Craig and his wife Jo (better known to some as The Gourmet Goat Lady) run a farm near Collie NSW with a mix of Herefords, cropping and Boer goats. Craig and Jo consider themselves as early adopters who are willing to pitch in and share knowledge and experiences with other producers. Craig has a strong interest in objective carcase measurement and growing the domestic market. To learn more about their operation:

GIRDAC operates independently to GICA as an MLA appointed and funded committee. The Committee will have the authority to provide advice to MLA regarding RD&E levy investment and authorise RD&E initiatives on behalf of industry. This will include advice and endorsement relating to project management, setting research priorities, terms of reference development and review, appointment of service providers and review of current project progress.

Reports on the Committee’s activities, recommendations and decisions will be formally provided to GICA biannually at GICA council meetings to ensure the Peak Industry Council is kept informed.

Thank you to everyone who applied for roles on the committee.

Watch this space for more updates and news from the Committee.