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AUS: Funding Available For Wool And Meat Producers

HON WARREN TRUSS MP MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY

23 SEPTEMBER 1999

The Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, today invited applications for the next round of Producer Initiated Research and Development (PIRD) funding.

Mr Truss said that PIRD is a joint initiative of the Woolmark Company and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), and is designed to encourage on-farm innovation.

"PIRD can provide Australian wool or meat producer groups with grants of up to $10,000 over two years to help boost on-farm productivity or look at issues affecting specific regions," Mr Truss said.

"The funding can help our beef, wool, sheepmeat and goatmeat producers improve their farm efficiency, the range and quality of the products they produce and the sustainability and profitability of their businesses."

Mr Truss said that producer groups could apply for funding for a wide range of activities, including help with project management, workshop and educational programs or studies of management systems successfully working in other parts of the country.

"In the past, funded projects have ranged from bus trips and one-day seminars to complex research programs," he said. "It's all about identifying a need or opportunity, outlining how it will be met and clearly establishing the benefits.

"Some of the best results have been achieved when producers with a similar goal get together to solve problems affecting their productivity or find new ways of gaining a competitive advantage."

"For example, a group of prime lamb producers in Tasmania got together with an idea and with the help of a PIRD grant have now developed their own brand name - 'Island Prime'. Their products will soon be available through Melbourne supermarkets and other retail outlets."

Mr Truss said Australia's meat and wool industries have faced difficult times over the past decade, and to remain internationally competitive, they must improve their product range and quality, as well as the efficiency of their production processes and supply chains.

"The key to this is well-targeted, industry-driven R&D. I congratulate Woolmark and MLA on this excellent initiative and urge producer groups to take advantage of the opportunities available."

Producer Initiated Research and Development grants first began in 1993 for meat and in 1996 for wool. Since then, 220 meat and 65 wool PIRDs have been funded.

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