GRDC northern panel going places

Author: Rachel Bowman | Date: 22 Jul 2013

James Clark, GRDC northern panel chair

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) advisory panel system remains a great strength of the organisation and survey results show that growers agree, according to James Clark, GRDC northern panel chair.

The 2012 GRDC Organisational Performance Research – Grower Survey Report carried out by Down to Earth Research shows a significant increase in unprompted awareness of GRDC in the northern region (up 12 points to 75pc) and particularly in Queensland (up seven points to 74pc).

Northern region respondents are the most likely to rate their panel fairly to very high (79pc) and the proportion of respondents from the northern region believing they have benefited from research, development and extension is the highest in the nation.

Seventy two pc of northern region respondents say GRDC has played a role in achieving direct benefits.

“It’s pleasing to see through the grower surveys that grower’s attitudes to GRDC and recognition of the benefits they’re gaining from GRDC have improved quite significantly,” Mr Clark said.

“The panel takes great pride in the fact that it is delivering benefits to growers and changing investment priorities and achieving adoption of new practices takes time but over the last five years industry perception of GRDC has changed significantly.”

GRDC has recently appointed its advisory panels which will serve for two years from July 2013 and Mr Clark says he is looking forward to building on the achievements of the last two panels under his leadership.

“The northern panel has spent a lot of time capturing priority issues for growers right across the region and identifying research questions so it’s pleasing to be able to report back to growers at this time of year about the new investments that are coming up,” he said.

“During my time as panel chair we’ve tried to take a really strategic look at how GRDC invests within the northern region to put some strategy around what we are doing and how we do it.”

Mr Clark said the current panel had spent significant time on building strategic investments in long term issues such as prebreeding that may not deliver for eight to 10 years but also work traditionally carried out in partnership with the universities and state departments to deliver benefits within three to eight years.

“Currently the panel is looking at how we do our extension and communication.

“GRDC and our co-investors have put out a lot of information and done a lot of research; GRDC’s invested in roughly $2 billion worth of research since its inception.

“Some of those research results haven’t been picked up by growers so we are going back to look at whether the extension phase needs to reworked because research is of no value unless it’s adopted by industry and we achieve practice change.”

Mr Clark said the panel’s recent achievements included implementing structure to set the region up well for the next 20 years of research and development.

“We are focusing on major issues for the region such as crown rot and nematodes and the northern panel has significantly increased GRDC’s investment in these areas.

“The other major change is the introduction of the grower solutions groups which are clearly designed to deliver to growers immediately, to put cash in growers pockets and answer their immediate issues.”

Mr Clark said the northern grains region from Dubbo, NSW to Emerald, Queensland and further north along the far north Queensland coastal farming areas had been divided into four sub-regions in order to reach all growers.

The coastal farming systems group from northern NSW to far north Queensland is now underway, and joins existing groups – NGA in northern NSW and southern Queensland, GOA in central west NSW, and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF)-led project based in central Queensland.

Mr Clark said the change had allowed GRDC to respond quickly to grower needs and added depth to the capture of priority issues.

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Video Caption: James Clark, GRDC northern panel chair says the GRDC advisory panel system is a great strength of the organisation.

Photo caption:
James Clark, GRDC northern panel chair.

For interviews contact:

James Clark
GRDC Northern Panel Chair
0427 545 212

Region North