New process see farmers driving research

11 September 2014

A Beef + Lamb New Zealand farmer council initiative that sees farmers play a more active role in directing research is now in place.

FRAG – the farm research advisory group – was established late last year. It involves seven members, drawn from each of the seven farmer councils, and is designed to act as a conduit between farmers and B+LNZ's board and research team. The group works alongside B+LNZ research manager Geoff Ridley.

FRAG chair Tony Gray says farmer councils across New Zealand were involved at the outset, through a series of needs analysis workshops.

"We then sifted through the information and come up with the list of research ideas on behalf of farmers. It's about trying to make the process more farmer driven. We then go to the research providers and see what they can do."

FRAG also works in reverse, with researchers encouraged to feed back project ideas to farmers.

Tony says the group is very careful to avoid duplication and checks a particular research area is not already underway.

About half of B+LNZ's current research budget is committed to projects which are in progress and finish over the next one to four years.

FRAG has supported 13 research topics for consideration by the B+LNZ board over coming weeks.

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