Ensuring research is farmer-driven is top reward
Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 19 Dec 2013
The role played by the Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) western regional panel in shaping the GRDC’s increased investments into frost research is an achievement that John Even is particularly proud of from his first two years as a panellist.
The GRDC’s annual investment in national frost research, development and extension (RD&E) will rise from $1.2-1.3 million annually, to more than $3 million.
Mr Even, who farms between Goomalling and Calingiri, said it was great to know that such significant research was being directed towards an issue which affected such a large number of farmers in Western Australia.
“It is probably the issue that affects WA growers the most and their profitability the most,” he said.
Mr Even said the establishment of Regional Cropping Solutions Networks was another significant achievement by the panel during his time on it.
“The RCSNs help ensure that GRDC investments are grower-driven from the ground up. From a grower levy point of view I think that has been very good and very important,” he said.
Mr Even is a qualified accountant and worked in the profession for 10 years before switching to farming.
He said his accounting skills had come in useful on the panel, with members contributing to the management of the GRDC’s budget.
The GRDC spends a total of more than $50 million on western region issues each year.
“The role of the panel is really important as it makes decisions on what investment is made into projects, so having farmer representation and local representation on it is extremely important,” Mr Even said.
“What I have gained by being on the panel is an insight into how the GRDC works, how investments are made and what drives those investments and I have really enjoyed contributing to that process.”
Mr Even grew up on his parents’ farm at Moora and worked for Byfields, a large accounting firm with a mostly rural client base in the central wheatbelt of WA.
He bought a farm in Goomalling, 135km northeast of Perth, in 1999 and another at nearby Calingiri in 2007 and continued working as a consultant to Byfields two days a week until 2009, when he retired from accountancy.
Mr Even applied to be part of the GRDC panel with the aim of improving the profitability and quality of life of WA grain growers, and has enjoyed trading information with other panellists from diverse backgrounds.
Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
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