The Commonwealth Government’s 2015 Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper states that agriculture “…continues to play a pivotal role in building the wealth of Australia; this is why the sector is one of the five pillars of the Australian economy and why the Government has made agriculture a priority”. “Farming Smarter” is a priority of the White Paper, which identifies that “….improved Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) priorities will direct levy funds to areas that will improve farmgate returns”.
“Farmgate returns” is of critical importance to the Agriculture portfolio; at the time of the White Paper launch, the Minister for Agriculture emphasised: “What’s the point of doing anything if we don’t get a fair return at the farmgate?”
The impact of the collective RDCs is extensive, with benefits far beyond traditional “farmer returns”. However, this theme is specific, focusing
directly on the positive impact of RDC Research, Development and Extension on levy payer returns across Australian primary production.
For Australia’s RDCs, the specific attention on farmgate returns provides opportunity to further validate their role in continuing to ensure primary producers access the most advanced technologies and practices through farming smarter; and helping to deliver improved returns.
RDCs create or take the best of global agricultural research and re-invest it with local knowledge, expertise and further research and development, to deliver relevant and practical information for Australia’s primary producers to use on-farm.
Australian farms don’t have the domestic support of many of our international competitors – what we have is an RDC model to drive innovation and enable our primary producers to be among the most competitive, productive and profitable globally.
Australian agriculture’s collaborative research and development system is coupled with a widespread extension network that facilitates dissemination of knowledge and encourages change and innovation. On-farm, the impact is improved productivity, sustainability and competiveness.
By delivering ongoing innovation backed by co-investment through the levy system, RDCs work with primary producers to facilitate the competitiveness of Australia’s rural industries and improve profitability.