GRAINGROWER groups are outraged that the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is considering initiating a public relations campaign designed to improve its image among graingrowers.
Several public relations firms contacted Farm Weekly in the past fortnight to gauge the current level of grower sentiment towards GRDC, through a grains survey.
It is understood GRDC has put out a proposal to several PR firms, seeking tenders for the job of making it look better in the eyes of growers.
The move appears to be in direct response to tough questioning aimed at the GRDC recently, from graingrower groups in WA and SA, about the value growers are deriving from their compulsory GRDC levy.
The grower groups have expressed ongoing concern about the organisation’s structure and the lack of influence growers have over the appointment of members to the GRDC panels and board.
WA Grain Group chairman Doug Clarke was seething at suggestions that grower funds would be used to polish GRDC’s image.
Mr Clarke said GRDC was extremely defensive and he wanted to know why.
“The WAGG are not saying that there’s anything wrong with research and development,” he said.
“All we are doing is asking questions about the value of the levy that growers pay to GRDC, and highlighting some governance issues with the way GRDC is operated.
“In 18 years, GRDC has had several internal reviews but never an external review.
“We called for an external review last year but never got a response.
“GRDC has reserves of about $102 million and spends about $119.5m each year on research and development in grains.
“The only people who seem to be complaining about our views are those who get funding from GRDC.
“We have hit a raw nerve and there’s a reason for it.”