Vol. 15 | No. 3 | August 2018

Growing collaboration and innovation within rural research and development

The vision of the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) is to power the success of Australian cotton through world-leading research, development and extension (RD&E). In creating future success, our challenge is to deliver better outcomes faster each year through our investments in RD&E. Growing collaboration and innovation are key strategies, for CRDC and our RDC colleagues, in sustaining and driving greater impact from RD&E investment. These strategies are creating change within rural RD&E and are undoubtedly important factors for consideration in a current Council of Rural RDCs project developing a vision for the future of Australia rural research and development. (more)



Garry Goucher, Garry Goucher & Associates, and David McKeon, GrainGrowers, discuss the continuing relevance of RDCs, answering the questions: ► Is the PIRD Act still relevant in 2018? ► Does the current system of checks and balances ensure the RDCs meet farmers’ needs? ► The Productivity Commission Review of 2011 recommended changes to ensure ‘better value for the community’ is delivered from government contributions to RDCs – do you agree? ► Does the current level of collaboration between the RDCs and private enterprise deliver the best possible outcomes for farmers? (more)


Society should determine the right to farm – it’s a controversial statement in the ongoing discussion about the interface between the realities of farming and public expectations about the acceptability of production practices. The introduction or amendment of legislation that would effectively result in specific ‘terms’ to describe the acceptability of agricultural production and related practices poses some concerns for producers. This is because these terms, described as a social licence to operate or ‘the right to farm’, tend to be driven by factors that don’t necessarily reflect the realities of farming. (more)


The 2018 Australian Farm Institute mid-year conference – Digital Farmers: Bringing AgTech to Life – featured an impressive talk on the rich digital ecosystem in China and the power of the Chinese consumer. Sharing insights from their own experiences in the Chinese market, James Hutchinson and Tyler Ye (founders and operators of distribution business James Tyler Fine Foods) gave a fascinating insight into the incredible opportunity for Australian agriculture in China. (more)


► With 99.8% of NSW in drought or drought-affected and 57% of Queensland drought-declared, worsening conditions across the country are having a profound impact on regional businesses and communities. ► The US Government plans to spend $12 billion dollars to help farmers cope with huge retaliatory tariff increases from China over President Trump’s self-proclaimed ‘trade war’. ► An independent performance and governance review of AWI has handed down 82 recommendations for change. ► Australia’s largest dairy processor Saputo has backed the Australian competition watchdog’s call for a mandatory code of conduct for the industry. (more)


The divide has long acted not just as a physical barrier between the thin strip of land to the east and the rest of the country, but also in a figurative sense has been a delineator between the city and the bush. Most of Australia’s agriculture occurs west of the divide, while most of Australia’s population lives to the east. In a general sense when you ‘cross the divide’ you are not just changing geography but also perceptions of issues as they relate to country or city residents. (more)


The Institute has featured strongly in media coverage in the past few months, thanks largely to the successful Digital Farmers mid-year conference, across issues including: rural connectivity, the future face of agriculture, agtech adoption, education, farmer health and the ripple effects of drought. Social media engagement continues to rise, with the conference hashtag #DigitalFarmers2018 trending in the top three on Australian Twitter over June 13–14th. Across June our Twitter feed collected 216,979 organic impressions; 55,926 of those from the two conference days alone. (more)