Producers from across Australia have been invited to participate in MLA Donor Company’s (MDC) Producer Innovation Fast-Track – with the pilot program designed to accelerate the development and adoption of innovation and new technologies being extended following the success of the initial open call.
The program targets innovations and initiatives that have the ability to improve on-farm and value chain performance by providing red meat producers, or producer groups, with expertise, co-funding and support to take their business to the next level.
MDC called for applications for the pilot program earlier in 2017, following a series of information sessions and workshops around the country.
MDC CEO Dr Christine Pitt said the response to the open call exceeded expectations and demonstrated the growing appetite of producers to invest and engage in innovation and adopt new technologies.
Given the strong interest in the program, MDC extended its review process to ensure all applications were thoroughly considered and to allow the development of appropriate models to support the many interesting project concepts received.
“Piloting this program is enabling MDC to identify the best ways to support producers as they explore new opportunities to grow their businesses as well as trial different ways to accelerate adoption of new technologies that will improve on-farm productivity and profitability,” Dr Pitt said.
Proposal submissions were invited across three streams:
- accelerated adoption of innovations to improve on-farm performance
- producer-led innovations resulting in new products, brands and value chains
- producer-led new ventures and start-ups.
“MDC received overwhelming support from producers, attracting 86 applications involving co-investment by more than 100 producers,” Dr Pitt said.
“Following the review process, over 70% of applications have progressed and program participants have begun work on their projects. We are now seeking further applications from producers for initiatives that involve new ventures, new food products, precision agriculture and value chain design.”
Producer Innovation Fast-Track provides participants with customised support packages, including access to:
- technical and business expertise and resources
- the latest R&D and innovations in livestock production
- supported design of customised business solutions
- administration and management support
- networks of like-minded, future-focused producers
- co-investment funding.
The program is being progressively implemented over the next 12 months, with a high level of involvement from participants in the co-design of the program to ensure it meets levy payers’ requirements.
“Each stream will be delivered via a customised service model that will evolve as the program progresses, using a continuous improvement/co-design methodology. It really enables producers to be actively involved in driving the innovation agenda,” Dr Pitt said.
MDC has the opportunity to extend this program to a wider group and is currently seeking applications for initiatives in the following areas:
- Producer-led new ventures and start-ups
- New producer-led food products
- Adoption of precision agriculture/use of data to inform improved decision making
- Exploring new ways for producers to participate differently in the value chain.
Applications will be accepted until 1 January 2018 and should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org