• Program Design, Evaluation & Review

    University of Melbourne – R&D for profit extension professional development program review

    Rural Consulting Group were contracted to manage and report on a review of the 9 professional development modules in agricultural extension developed as part of the project ‘Stimulating private sector extension to increase returns from R&D’.  The objectives for the review were to:

    1. Review content quality and appropriateness for module outcomes,
    2. Review utility and relevance of professional development modules for different audiences
    3. Assess the appropriateness of the delivery model and its sustainability over time,
    4. Review the alignment of modules to the AQF level 9 framework, and
    5. Describe any improvements across content, target audience, delivery model and business model for delivery.

    The review had three main elements; a module by module review, a review of the Professional Development ‘package’ as an AQF level 9 product, and a strategic review of the overall program.  The approach taken for the review was for teams of 2 reviewers to review the structure and content of the modules using either a strategic review template or module review template in order to address key terms of reference.  RCG developed the methodology and collated review findings into a final report which has informed ongoing investment. 

    "Rural Consulting Group were able to bring fresh eyes and strategic insight to the review of the professional development program targeting private extension practitioners.  Their expertise and ability to bring together a diverse review team in a short period of time ensured an excellent result for the project and a report which will inform future investment"
    Associate Professor – Ruth Nettle, Leader, Rural Innovation Research Group, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences
  • Strategy Devlopment

    Sugar Research Australia – Industry Adoption Strategy Development

    The development of an Industry Adoption Strategy was commissioned by the SRA Board in early 2017 with the stated purpose of developing a strategy to support increased uptake and implementation of new and existing technologies in the sugar industry.  The development of this strategy involved review of successful models in other industries and extensive consultation with over 130 individuals and 40 different stakeholder groups including regional productivity services boards, millers, canegrower groups, key investors and government.  Rural Consulting Group led the design and delivery of the strategy development process and is currently engaged by SRA to support the strategies implementation.

    "SRA invests in and manages a portfolio of research, development and adoption projects that drive the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the Australian sugarcane industry. The SRA Board recently initiated a process to develop a strategy to increase the adoption of research outcomes in our industry. The space was not necessarily wanting for resources as it included Government at the Commonwealth and State level, industry productivity organisation’s with varying levels of capability and the private sector, however the linkages between and across regions and organisations was at best opaque. Sean Kenny from Rural Consulting Group was instrumental in the development of a new Strategy for Industry Led Adoption Activities in the sugar industry. Given the diversity of the stakeholders involved, this required extensive consultation and the consideration and analysis of alternative models from outside and within the industry to develop a model that has met our Board and Industries expectations. He took ownership of the task and delivered an Industry led and endorsed strategy that consolidated diverse views and yet was transparent and strategic while empowering our members at the regional/national level. The strategy is robust and visionary thanks to Sean’s commitment and leadership"
    Neil Fisher - SRA CEO
  • Project Design & Delivery

    Warrnambool Cheese and Butter – Business Discussion Groups Project

    The Warrnambool Cheese and Butter business discussion groups project was established to support organic growth of the existing supplier base, skill development of existing suppliers in the key areas of business and feedbase management, and skill development of the milk supply team to support farmers post project.  To achieve these objectives, business discussion groups were established and structured to support appropriate comparative analysis of farm businesses using the industry tool - DairyBase. 

    To help farmers get the most value from their involvement, RCG analysed and summarised the huge amount of DairyBase data into a brief 2-page summary report, a set of 6 graphs, plus a “Dashboard” of key measures as shown below. The report, the graphs, and the Dashboard compare participants farm performance with the SW average for the same year, and top 25% SW farms over recent years.   Individual data is used to develop farm action plans, with group discussions designed to help participants achieve their goals as defined by this plan.

    "Rural Consulting Group have been a great partner in developing and delivering this project which is unique in the dairy industry.  WCB are committed to supporting the growth and prosperity of our suppliers.  Our work with RCG is an important part of this through helping participants identify opportunities to improve profitability.  We have also seen benefits through RCG engaging with our staff to enhance their skills in whole farm business analysis."
    Rowan Ault, Farm Services Manager, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter
  • Training & Capability Building

    Dairy Australia – FPFP Capability Development Program

    Dairy Australia assumed responsibility for all dairy Feedbase extension in Victoria on 1st July 2016.  This required Regional Development  Program staff to develop capability to deliver the flagship program – Feeding Pasture For Profit  prior to the 2017 delivery season.  Previously there was no structured staff training and development program for FPFP.  The process developed was a mentored, 12 month action learning process which comprised of:

    • A 3 day training intensive
    • Supported program delivery by an expert deliverer
    • On going peer review amongst deliverers
    • On-going mentor support throughout the program

    The 3 day train the trainer session was delivered in late February 2017 with ongoing mentored delivery support throughout the year.  The approach taken was based on an action learning model with each session of the program being delivered, reviewed and re-delivered.  Evaluation of the approach designed and delivered by RCG was that the confidence, skills and ability to deliver FPFP was rapidly developed through this training program, with the Dairy industry moving from having 3 trained deliverers to 11 within 12 months.

    "The redevelopment of Feeding Pastures for Profit was central to the delivery of our national feedbase extension strategy.  The review and updating of FPFP resources combined with the skill development of regional staff required a unique mix of technical, extension and training skills.  Rural Consulting Group were able to bring these and moblise both a group of technical experts and our regional delivery team to effectively and efficiently build our capacity to deliver, in a very short amount of time.  The result has enabled us to deliver on levy payer expectations for program delivery."
    Cath Lescun, Feedbase Program Development Manager.