The Coalition Government has moved to strengthen the targeting of rural research, development and extension (RD&E) funding towards on-farm technologies and practices that deliver farmgate returns with the development of clear farmer, fisher and forester‑oriented RD&E priorities. Source: AFDJ eNews
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said updating these priorities was an Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiative that was designed to improve on-farm productivity and maximise benefits to the community.
“The new priorities will see our Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) take a stronger focus on the areas of advanced technology, biosecurity, soil, water and managing natural resources, as well as promoting industry and on-farm adoption of R&D,” Minister Joyce said.
“These priorities were developed in consultation with farmers, researchers and industry through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper process, which saw us receive more than 1,000 submissions as well as talking face-to-face with more than 1,100 people across the country.
“Just as other national research priorities are periodically reviewed to ensure they reflect the changing needs of Australians, our rural RD&E priorities are reviewed to ensure that collective investment in R&D continues to deliver maximum returns and benefits to primary producers and the Australian community.
“The RDCs will be required to plan and report on RD&E expenditure against the new priorities, which are consistent with the government’s National Science and Research Priorities and National Innovation and Science Agenda. I have written to the chairs of the 15 rural RDCs to inform them of the new priorities.
“A strong R&D system drives future productivity growth, and effective natural resource management.
“R&D investment delivers productivity returns that far exceed the cost of the investment: for every dollar the government invests in agricultural R&D, farmers generate a $12 return within 10 years.
“The government and industry together invest around $550 million annually through the RDCs.
“We are already delivering on our promise to increase R&D funding, through the Rural R&D for Profit Programme. Under the White Paper we have doubled funding for this programme to $200 million and extended it to 2021-22.
“The new priorities are now also reflected in the Rural R&D for Profit Programme, which encourages innovative partnerships between RDCs and other organisations.
“More than $26 million in project funding has so far been announced under round one. Round two of the programme closed on 1 December and I look forward to announcing successful projects in the first half of 2016.”
To read the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, visit agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au