New dairy research hub

The West Australian

Changes to the model for dairy research, development and extension (RD&E) in Western Australia have been announced.

The move will streamline the relationship between the State's dairy farmers and the organisations providing them with RD&E services.

Under the new arrangement, all dairy-related RD&E activities will be delivered by Western Dairy, one of Dairy Australia's eight levy-funded regional development programs.

The formation of the Western Dairy RD&E Hub means dairy researchers and extension practitioners will report directly to industry via Western Dairy.

"The WA dairy industry has been proactive in working with DAFWA to find innovative solutions to DAFWA's changing landscape to ensure we retain our capacity and highly valued interaction with the national dairy RD&E community," Western Dairy chairman Vic Rodwell said.

"The formation of the hub ensures we can offer quality, timely and relevant research and extension that will contribute to WA dairy farm physical, financial and environmental performance.

"Western Dairy and our partners Dairy Australia and DAFWA are confident we will achieve this through agreements that provide guaranteed minimum initial operating funding of $1.5 million for the first three years - that is directed specifically towards activities of the hub."

Mr Rodwell said the hub gave WA dairy farmers confidence that on-ground activities and projects centred around driving feedbase and business performance remained the focus of Western Dairy.

Coinciding with the hub's formation is work to bring WA's three dairy processors together with government and industry to develop an industry partnership agreement that sets out an agreed pathway for growth.

Mr Rodwell cautioned that while there was excitement about the new approach to RD&E, DAFWA's transitional funding was only for a three-year period.

"The challenge is now to maintain and then increase the level of spending on RD&E through ensuring we provide a high value product that is attractive to other potential funding partners," he said.

The hub will be based in Bunbury and administered by Western Dairy's strategic partner South West Catchment Council.

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