Discussion groups are a proven approach to extension. When farmer driven groups have a clear purpose and well planned and supported, they are more apt to drive practice change and innovation.
This project allows Dairy NSW and Dairy Australia to better engage and support dairy farmers to identify and act on opportunities within their farm businesses and drive practice change in the industry.
Seed funding of up to $2000 per annum is available to groups within the Dairy NSW region. The aim of the project is to incentivise, no subsidise. Support is to enable groups to add value to what they do. A focus on whole farm systems, productivity and farm business performance will underpin Dairy Australia's longer term support for group-based extension.
Support for existing (of which a number would be currently considered inactive) discussion groups and the establishment of new groups in strategic geographic sub-regions will form an RDP network of ten groups in 2014/15 and twelve groups in 2015/16. This will result in more farmer participation in extension activities which creates a domino effect - farmers learning from farmers - and extends the benefit of shared information, insight and service that Dairy Australia and Dairy NSW alone cannot provide.
A successful application will:
- be well organised with a planned approach
- conduct activities with a clear sense of purpose
- have a strong ownership of the group's direction by the farmer members of the group who contribute to running the group and have 'skin in the game'
- regularly evaluate the group and its achievements to drive improvement
Every Dairy Discussion Group is unique. Some alternate between members' properties, some meet in a central location, some meet during the day, some meet at night. While there is a social element to the meeting, farm talks and walks enable farmers to monitor farm performance and discussion seasonal conditions, industry settings and key farm management decisions.
To request Dairy NSW/Dairy Australia seed funds for your dairy discussion group, send an email to the Dairy NSW Regional Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org and list who, what, when, where, why, how and how much. If other funding is supporting the activity or event, please advise.
Dairy NSW pays the invoices directly and according to the approved plans, terms and conditions as outlined in the templates.
Please contact the Dairy NSW Executive Officer for further information.