It is critical that grower groups continue to add value to grains research and development, actively engaging with growers so they understand and take up results to help them achieve maximum profitability.
This was the message from Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) managing director John Harvey when he opened the Grower Group Alliance’s (GGA) annual forum ‘Celebrating ten years: the way forward’ in Perth on August 16.
The forum celebrated 10 years of the GRDC-supported GGA connecting grower groups, research organisations and agribusiness in WA.
Mr Harvey said grower groups could help achieve the GRDC’s vision for investment in grains research, development and extension (RD&E), as outlined in its recently launched Strategic Research and Development Plan 2012-17.
“The aim of the plan is about getting research outputs in growers’ hands and making sure their investment in the GRDC is the best they can possibly make in terms of returns – better than shares, real estate or any other form of investment,” he said.
Mr Harvey told the GGA annual forum that the plan – available at strategicplan2012.grdc.com.au - outlined priority research areas and key strategies to most effectively manage the GRDC’s investments.
“The GRDC’s new organisational structure includes an increased focus on meeting the needs of growers in each region, and has seen the appointment of regionally-based program managers including Darren Hughes in Western Australia,” he said.
Other speakers at the GGA forum included keynote speaker, 2005 Nobel Laureate Barry Marshall; WA farmer and GRDC ‘The Way We Were’ study tour participant Tony White; and WA Business News Editor-at-large, Mark Pownall.
Panel and concurrent sessions explored issues including grower group models, resourcing and current projects, while WA Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman participated in a question and answer session to close the day.
GGA project leader Susan Hall said that in addition to celebrating its tenth anniversary, the organisation had recently added value to the services it provided to its 42 grower group members.
“The ‘partners’ page on the GGA website at www.gga.org.au/partners has been upgraded to provide a one-stop-shop of organisations willing to provide free or paid services to grower groups,” she said.
“These services are provided by agribusiness, industry, natural resource management and research service providers keen to foster relationships with growers.”
“GGA partners provide services including assistance with field days; soil and plant analysis; group facilitation and planning; collaborative research projects; training; specialist research skills; contract research and development; and benchmarking.”
Ms Hall said the GGA had also initiated a pilot ‘business coach’ project to help farmer groups develop increased knowledge of governance and operational procedures.
“GGA has engaged agribusiness consultancy Growing Australia to provide free coaching and mentoring to grower groups until June 2013,” she said.
PHOTO CAPTION: GRDC managing director John Harvey addresses the GGA annual forum.
PHOTO CAPTION: At the GGA annual forum are, from left, South East Premium Wheat Growers Association (SEPWA) chairman and Esperance grower Lyndon Mickel; GGA advisory group chairman and Mingenew grower Clancy Michael; GGA project leader and recently appointed GRDC western panellist Susan Hall; and GRDC western panellist Bill Ryan.
Contact: Natalie Lee
Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034; 0427 189 827