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Dairy Insight Invests In Science

Dairy Insight Invests In Science

Dairy InSight today announced the first of its funding allocations for the 2003-2004 season with over $9 million going into science, 25% of total available funding.

“Science is a vital building block in the industry’s future and we are committed to a solid level of investment in it,” says Dairy InSight’s Chief Executive, Peter Bodeker.

“In this first year of levy funding for Dairy InSight we have supported many existing science projects to ensure they are taken to completion. Consistency is an important part of our funding approach now and in the future. We want to ensure that the benefits of current research projects are delivered to farmers.

“A portion of our investment has been directed to new projects and this will increase in coming years. Our intention is to create a clear set of priorities in the science sector over the next few years and work to those priorities.

“It has been dairy farmers who have indicated spending priorities in science – that has been a major part of the consultation we have undertaken with them. It is our job to convert what farmers want into funding policy. We have done this in close dialogue with other global programme leaders from science providers Dexcel, AgResearch, Livestock Improvement Corporation, Fonterra Research Centre and Fonterra.

“Through our consultation programme, Future Focus, dairy farmers told us that science should form one part of a package of investment. They described a package where improvements in areas such as farm practice, staff availability and capability, and effective extension should be combined with good science to produce the increases in productivity we are all keen to see.

“This holistic approach is evident in our funding policies,” says Mr Bodeker.

“Science needs the involvement and commitment of dairy farmers to ensure its application. Many dairy farmers appear to feel disconnected from the outputs of science. This needs to be overcome through a mixture of strategies including a stronger focus on outcomes for science programmes, continuing attention to extension and better communication with dairy farmers.”

Other considerations in Dairy InSight’s science funding decisions included a mix of short and long term projects, awareness of regional differences and opportunities, and a mix of applied and pure science.

“We are not yet clear what is the optimum level of funding for science in the dairy industry. This will emerge as dairy farmers further articulate their needs, the global leaders have the opportunity to review the results of consultation with farmers, and the capacity of providers to deliver high quality science at a reasonable cost expands,” says Peter Bodeker.

As a final point Peter Bodeker said that there is just one week before the close of the postal vote for the Dairy InSight board. He noted that there are important decisions to be made by the board, such as in the area of science, and it is vital that dairy farmers show their confidence in Dairy InSight and return their ballot papers. Voting closes at 5.00pm Friday 30 May and results will be available Saturday 31 May.

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