The GRDC’s capacity to increase investment in strategic, longer-term investments in grains research, development and extension was among the issues discussed at the most recent consultative meeting between GRDC management and Grain Producers Australia (GPA).
GPA is the body appointed by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry as the grower representative organisation to which the GRDC is required under the Primary Industries Research and Development Act 1989 (PIRD Act) to periodically report.
The biannual ‘consult meetings’ with the GRDC’s board and senior GRDC staff provide an opportunity to explain and report on research initiatives being undertaken, and for GPA (on behalf of grain growers generally) to raise issues it believes are relevant to R&D funding, and the GRDC’s role generally.
At the most recent meeting earlier in the year GPA representatives tabled a list of priority issues for growers. Issues discussed included the capacity to draw on healthy financial reserves for longer-term investments – such as one-off R&D infrastructure – that would ensure current strategies for R&D investment continue to deliver impact and value into the future.
Other matters discussed included:
- the GRDC’s role in funding industry-good activities, including discussion about funding options for Wheat Quality Australia; and
- the GRDC’s current strategies for grower engagement, in light of the discontinuation of GRDC Regional Advisory Committees.
One issue raised by GPA was a perception among some growers that the GRDC is not delivering value on levies. GRDC managing director John Harvey presented the results of grower surveys (which have been undertaken regularly since 1993) showing strong grower support for the GRDC and its performance. The latest surveys put grower support for the R&D levy at 78 per cent, similar to the proportion of growers who rate the GRDC’s overall performance as ‘fairly to very high’ (79 per cent).
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