New-look GRDC overhauls business structure in major revamp

Grain Central, June 20, 2017

THE Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has undergone a significant “realignment and refocus” of its structure and operations aimed at better positioning and resourcing its investment in RD&E.

Dr Steve Jefferies

GRDC managing director Dr Steve Jefferies says the organisation’s remodelled business structure and the adoption of a fresh investment strategy will propel grains RD&E into the future to enable growers to adapt to ever-increasing challenges and to grasp new profit-driving opportunities.

“Change in our grains industry is occurring at a rapid pace,” Dr Jefferies said.

“We are constantly seeing advances in technology, increasing climate variability, consolidation of farms, globalisation and shifts within the market place.

“It is therefore imperative that as Australia’s major investor in grains RD&E, the GRDC is not only keeping pace with that change but is in fact at the very forefront of change and leading the industry response through targeted investment in RD&E.

“To do that, we need to have the right people with the right skills in the right place so that we can respond to grower needs with agility, leading to swift, positive impact in the paddock and ultimately on grower profitability.”

Workforce changes

As a result of a major redesign of its business, the GRDC is bolstering its workforce, particularly in the regions, boosting the organisation’s outreach to growers, advisers, farming systems groups, researchers and agribusiness.

“We need to have the right skills and experience on the ground to actively manage the RD&E portfolio to ensure it delivers value to growers,” Dr Jefferies said.

“We have created a raft of pivotal new positions within the organisation, so I encourage anyone who is keen to play a role in advancing this most inspiring grains industry of ours, through the delivery of relevant and impactful RD&E, to consider applying for one of the positions now available.”

Among the many positions on offer are six new Grower Relations Manager roles – two in each of the GRDC’s southern, western and northern regions.

The Grower Relations Managers will be responsible for helping to ensure that important research findings focused on improving grower profit are adopted on-farm.

The Grower Relations Managers will also be looking to identify the more innovative growers to help further stretch them with new focused research but to also help lead others in the adoption of new technologies.

Strategic plan

This ramping up of personnel and associated expertise and resources coincides with a new five-year Strategic Research, Development and Extension Plan which is about to commence.

“The RD&E Plan for 2017-22, which sets out the GRDC’s primary, strategic objectives for the coming five years, will unapologetically be focused on driving grower profitability,” Dr Jefferies said.

“The GRDC recognises that to achieve this critical goal, on-farm transformational technologies are necessary and so our investments in RD&E going forward will be geared more towards breakthrough science and high-impact outcomes for growers.”

Five-year plan

GRDC will soon commence consulting with growers and industry on the new five-year RD&E plan.

“It’s critical that GRDC invests levy dollars in RD&E that has high impact on grower profitability,” Dr Jefferies said.

“Growers need to take the time to ensure they have input into the plan so that they can ensure the high priority issues that drive grower profitability are addressed.

“The GRDC is now recalibrated and ready to lead the way forward with investment in RD&E that captures those opportunities for growers and maximises return on investment from their levies.”

Investment growth

Mr Jefferies said over the past five years the GRDC had moved from contributing 35 per cent of the total investment in grains R&D to now investing 60pc.

“That is largely driven by an increase in revenue from GRDC and a decline in investment from some sectors of the university environment and state governments’ investment in R&D which has declined rapidly,” he said.

“The Department of Agriculture in Western Australia, for example, has recently moved from about 1500 employees to about 900 employees working on R&D.”

More details about the new GRDC positions: (search GRDC) or via

Source: GRDC


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