NUFFIELD scholar Michael Craig, who runs a mixed lamb, wool, beef and cropping business at Harrow, in the western districts of Victoria, will provide the opening address at the WALRC Livestock Matters forums on March 25, 26 and 27 at Manypeaks, Kulin and Dandaragan.
Mr Craig has been invited to challenge the audience and to use the examples of change and innovation from his enterprise to stimulate the day's discussion at the WALRC Livestock Matter forums.
He describes himself as a "relative newcomer" to farming and readily admits to have had innovation failings over this time, including trialling biological shearing and alternatives to mulesing.
"In the trial and error process I've learnt how to adapt my business to the long-term market needs which drove my decision to cease mulesing 13 years ago and new technologies have been the enabler for many of my changes," Mr Craig said.
He completed a 2016 Nuffield scholarship, entitled 'Sheep & lamb meat - a commodity or premium product?' and as a consequence travelled extensively, looking at other protein value chains.
"I came to the conclusion that for Australia to maintain its position as a premium protein (producer), linking the value chain through objective carcase measurements to end consumer value would create transparency and value-creating behaviour back on farm," he said.
Mr Craig has off-farm involvements including chairing the Victorian Sheep and Goat Compensation fund, sitting on the Advanced Livestock Measurement Technology Program Steering Committee and he recently retired from the Sheep Producers Australia board.
He will open the Livestock Matters forum with his presentation at 1pm at Manypeaks on Wednesday, March 25, Kulin on Thursday, March 26 and Dandaragan on Friday, March 27.
The full agenda for each event is listed in the advert on the adjacent page.
According to WALRC's chairmain Tim Watts, the forums are a critical opportunity for red meat producers to directly influence MLA's research and extension portfolio for the following 12 months.
"We set up the program to stimulate discussion and really drive attention identifying the current research and extension gaps that exist," Dr Watts said.
"If we think about this in the context of what's going wrong on farm at a production level and draw on the expertise of our research partners to help understand this, then we should be able to be clear about what we want from our levy organisation."
The forums are free to attend and include a complimentary luncheon.
RSVPs are essential and should be sent to 0418 931 938 (text) or email firstname.lastname@example.org