Producers guide $9.4m in levy investment

23 September 2016

Grassroots producers have directly influenced the selection of new on-farm research, development and adoption (RDA) projects for the sheepmeat and grassfed beef sectors in 2016/17, worth $9.4 million of levy-payer funds.

A total of 18 new on-farm RD&A projects have been endorsed to receive Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) investment of sheepmeat and grassfed beef levies, starting this year.

Their selection is the result of a regional consultation strategy started by MLA in 2015 to seek direct input from producers throughout the country to identify priority areas for RD&A.

The projects address a range of issues within industry priority areas including animal health and welfare, feedbase, farm systems, and capacity building.

The priorities were identified by producers through 18 regional committees as well as the North Australia Beef Research Council (NABRC), the Southern Australia Meat Research Council (SAMRC), and the Western Australia Livestock Research Council (WALRC).

MLA’s General Manager – Producer Consultation and Adoption, Michael Crowley, said the projects endorsed for MLA investment in 2016/17 are the first to be generated from direct producer input.

“We have been able to put a strategy in place to give producers the opportunity to identify research to meet their needs,” Mr Crowley said.

“Sheepmeat and grassfed beef RD&A priorities for the 2016/17 MLA open call were determined through regional consultation processes held throughout the country.

“MLA received 185 preliminary project proposals, and a thorough review process of those projects was established.

“After review by Northern, Southern and Western Producer Panels and MLA, 42 preliminary proposals were found to best address the 2016/17 RD&A priorities, describe producer benefits at a regional and national level, and cost-effectively outline ways to deliver on industry RD&A plans.

“Based on those 42 preliminary proposals, 34 full proposals were invited and subsequently assessed by an independent panel of technical experts, chaired by internationally-renowned livestock researcher Professor Alan Bell.

“After expert review, 28 full proposals were re-assessed by the Red Meat Panel, to arrive at the final 18.”

The Red Meat Panel consists of the Chair and a producer member of each of NABRC and SAMRC, two producer members of WALRC, a representative from the Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) and the Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) and two MLA General Managers.

Mr Crowley said work is already underway on identifying the 2017/18 RD&A priorities through the regional consultation producer forums being held throughout Australia this year.

For details about the 18 RD&A projects endorsed for 2016/17, visit http://www.mla.com.au/about-mla/rd-consultation/

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