The GRDC’s accountability to levy-paying grain growers continues to shape talks between the organisation and the joint grower representative organisations (RO) to which it now reports – Grain Producers Australia (GPA) and Grain Growers Limited (GrainGrowers).
At the most recent meeting in Canberra in February, increasing engagement with growers was one of many issues discussed. This was the second meeting under the joint reporting arrangement and GrainGrowers chair John Eastburn says it was a constructive follow-up to the first joint RO consult in September 2015.
Mr Eastburn says the function of the ROs is to consult with the GRDC on its research portfolio and, specifically, the value of research outputs to growers.
“The consult was a valuable opportunity to be updated on expected outcomes following the September consult and to discuss a range of topics that had been raised with both GPA and GrainGrowers over the past six months,” he says.
Topics discussed in February included:
- progression on the development of a grains-levy-payer database;
- discussion on ways to interact directly with grain growers outside of the Regional Panels and Regional Cropping Solution Networks;
- an update on the GRDC’s bilateral research agreements with state agencies;
- the GRDC’s role in the Australian Government’s Rural Research and Development for Profit program;
- review of the long-term priorities and strategy of the GRDC-funded Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre;
- the GRDC’s potential role in research that informs policy, including market access and biosecurity priorities;
- the update of rural R&D priorities as outlined in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and the implications this has for the GRDC’s current strategy; and
- the GRDC’s 2012–17 Strategic Plan including internal restructure, hub-and-spoke location model (regional presence) and CEO recruitment.
GPA chair Andrew Weidemann says the format of GPA and GrainGrowers jointly performing the role of RO was working well.
“The joint approach allows comprehensive access to grain-levy payers and enables the two organisations to raise a wideranging set of issues with the GRDC’s executive and board,” he says.
“GPA and GrainGrowers are then able to report back to growers on the outcomes of the consult, with the goal of providing an enhanced connection between growers and those responsible for their levy investment.”
During the year, GPA and GrainGrowers take queries and questions from growers in regards to the GRDC’s operations and discuss this feedback at one of the regular RO consults.
Clare Ross, GRDC,
Leading plant breeder to head up the GRDC