New reference group to address uptake of R&D adoption on-farm

27 February 2019

A skills-based group of livestock producers, consultants and researchers from throughout Australia has been selected to help increase the rate of adoption of on-farm research and development (R&D) outcomes.

The new Producer Adoption Reference Group has been established by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to provide strategic advice to MLA on the issues impacting the uptake of R&D adoption by beef and sheepmeat producers.

The group will be chaired by MLA General Manager, Producer Consultation and Adoption, Michael Crowley, and its recommendations will be delivered to the MLA Board and red meat peak industry councils for consideration.

The group comprises:

  • Andrew Gray – beef producer, Texas, Queensland
  • Christine White – beef, sheep and wool producer, Coolah, NSW
  • David Larkin – Hancock Agriculture, representing pastoral companies
  • Tony Thompson – sheep producer, Bourke, NSW
  • Elke Hocking – consultant and beef and sheep producer, Lucindale, SA
  • Professor Ruth Nettle – rural innovation researcher, University of Melbourne
  • Cameron Nicholson – consultant and sheep and beef producer, Geelong, Victoria
  • Basil Doonan – consultant, Tasmania
  • Penny Schulz – sheep and beef producer and consultant, Sheep Producers Australia representative
  • Liz Allen – beef producer, Cattle Council of Australia representative

Key stakeholders, including representatives from the peak industry councils and other experts, will be invited to participate in supporting the reference group as required.

MLA Program Manager, Adoption, David Packer, said a thorough selection process was undertaken following an open call for expressions of interest in late 2018.

“This new group will contribute to steering the direction of MLA’s Adoption Strategy to ensure MLA’s programs deliver outcomes that are relevant to and valued by producers,” Mr Packer said.

“Priorities for the group include providing strategic advice on methods to overcome the barriers to adoption, review of operational plans and project implementation, monitoring key performance indicators, and appraising industry stakeholders of the outcomes of adoption-related activities. It will also ensure that adoption-related communication is consistent, targeted and effective.

“Increasing on-farm productivity gains and profitability through the adoption of R&D, and new tools and technologies, is one of the six pillars of MLA’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020.

“Addressing the barriers to adoption of knowledge, practices and technologies on-farm will result in increased prosperity not only to producers, but throughout the entire red meat value chain.

“The group will focus on a range of key areas aimed at overcoming the barriers to commercial adoption of R&D. Its intention is to provide a forum for consultative discussion and consensus on the implementation and management of industry relevant programs and initiatives.

“This includes but is not limited to driving adoption of animal health and welfare, beef and sheep productivity, and feedbase R&D outcomes.”

The group will conduct its first meeting during the first quarter of 2019.

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