Ag Excellence Alliance ‘Future Needs and Funding for Grower Groups’ Workshop

Rebecca recently attended a workshop in Adelaide that brought together grower groups nationally to talk about future funding and opportunities for collaboration. Eight funding organisations, with an SA focus, presented on how they value grower groups for getting their messages on ground and what their future funding opportunities were. All funders told of the importance of grower networks.

Of relevance to our WA network were the national RDC’s. MLA talked about their new engagement/consultation structure and announced that there would be an annual project call opening in January. They also talked about a new extension program they are developing around profitable resilient farming systems and how they are looking for ways to improve co-investment and collaboration.

AWI talked about the opportunities for better collaboration, with MLA and AWI strategic planning cycles aligning this year (a once in 15 year occurrence). They also have a project call in November and are looking moving back into running producer initiated research and development schemes (PIRDs).

GRDC and DAFF speakers were late withdrawals however Ag Ex were lucky to have Mark Stanley, GRDC southern panelist and Ag Ex EO, present. Mark talked about the regional restructure and highlighted that the new investment cycle will start this September. All presentations available here.

The workshop also provided opportunities for groups to put forward ideas for collaborative research projects for the next five years. Some great ideas come up and can be found here. If you are keen to progress any ideas contact the GGA office.

The day concluded with a discussion around the value of forming a national alliance of farming system groups, with a split vote as to whether it was needed or not. Groups didn’t want to see a duplication of services state alliances deliver, but saw opportunities for leverage in developing large collaborative projects and for providing advocacy on benefits of grower groups nationally. The suggestion was to start with a biannual national conference. The GGA will keep WA groups informed as this progresses.