AFTER 20 years of dedicated research and extension work into farming and livestock, the Mallee Sustainable Farming (MSF) organisation centred in the low rainfall Mallee cropping regions of NSW/SA/Vic is preparing to expand its investigative agenda.
Newly appointed Mallee Sustainable Farming executive officer David Bone said the first step was to start a conversation with Mallee farmers about how best to tackle a broader range of future threats and opportunities.
Mr Bone said while agronomy and livestock research would always be at the core of MSF’s focus, the recent MSF conference on the Mallee’s Future in the Global Food System showed farmers were interested in the bigger picture issues around operating a farm business in an environment of rapidly advancing technology.
“Sustainability is simply another way of saying planning for the future and Mallee Sustainable Farming has spent the last two decades proving just that, building a proud reputation for innovative research, quality extension and collaborative partnerships,” he said.
“Now we think the time is right to leverage of MSF’s research and extension experience, by beginning a conversation with our members about what ideas they have for a broader research agenda, tackling some of the challenges in running a farm business beyond just the farming.”
Mr Bone said Mallee Sustainable Farming had always been farmer-led and this conversation was no different, with MSF farmer members able to put up any ideas for discussion and consideration.
“It’s hard to come up with an idea when put on the spot, so a couple of the questions I’ve been using to help start the conversation with MSF members include what is it about farming you are passionate about and what issues keep you awake at night?”
He said some of the areas already identified included transport and logistics issues, attracting and retaining the highly technical labour force the future would require and how technology would change the business of farm management.
Source: MSF, www.msfp.org.au/