GRDC board steps into growers boots
Author: Toni Somes | Date: 10 Feb 2017
This week the Grains Research and Development (GRDC) Board undertook a three-day fact finding mission to south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Led by Goondiwindi grain grower John Woods, who took on the role of GRDC Board Chairman in October, the seven-member board visited farms to listen to growers talk about profit drivers, research gaps and their immediate and long term issues.
“This week’s regional engagement was about ensuring the board directors meet with growers to understand the challenges and issues facing farming systems and the industry,” Mr Woods said.
“As a board understanding the research priorities and needs of growers is vital, because we have the responsibility of ensuring the levy investment by grain growers delivers paddock-ready solutions to production constraints, helps reduce production costs and most importantly has a positive impact on farm profitability.
“We also spent time meeting with our research partners, as GRDC doesn’t undertake research itself, we invest with our research partners, so understanding their concerns and opportunities is essential.”
Mr Woods said the presence of regional GRDC staff and an office in Toowoomba further reflected the GRDC’s commitment to delivering regionally relevant, locally coordinated and transparent levy investment.
“Our regional offices provide a vital contact point for ongoing engagement with growers and research partners and this two-way conversation between the GRDC and industry is critical,” he said.
“It ensures the GRDC aligns its research investments with the needs and priorities of growers, whilst then co-investing with key research partners.”
This week’s board engagement included meeting directly with grain growers in Goondiwindi, Mungindi and Walgett, before visiting researchers in Toowoomba. GRDC northern panel chairman John Minogue also joined the board on the tour reflecting the critical role regional panels play in informing investments.
The final day of the engagement included a tour of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) to see a jointly funded initiative between USQ and the GRDC.
Mr Woods said this investment was an example of effective R&D collaboration with the aim of ensuring the grain industry’s enduring profitability into the future.
GRDC in partnership with USQ is investing in a $10 million investment, which includes $2 million from GRDC for stage one, and will result in an expansion of the CCH’s glasshouse, laboratory and outdoor trial-site capacity, and delivered a new centre for the study of biopesticides. The initiative aims to bolster Australia’s ability to protect its multi-million-dollar broadacre industries against plant disease and biosecurity threats.
“Being involved with USQ in this plant pathology and biosecurity project is a key move for the GRDC allowing us to support plant protection research into crops like sorghum, sunflowers and mungbeans,” Mr Woods said.
“On a broader note, joint partnerships like this, give researchers the capacity to develop integrated solutions to provide sustainable and progressive cropping options for Australian grain growers.
“Going forward the GRDC’s ability to support and collaborate with other organisations will be one of our greatest strengths and will encourage us all to think outside the square in terms of R&D that benefits our industry.”
Mr Woods was joined on this week’s three-day board tour by GRDC managing director Steve Jefferies, deputy chair Kim Halbert (WA) and GRDC board directors’ Dr Andrew Barr (SA), Dr Helen Garnett (NT), Roseanne Healy (SA), David Shannon (SA) and Dr Jeremy Burdon (ACT).
Toni Somes, Cox Inall Communications
Was this page helpful?