Australian Wool Growers Association's newest director Paul Cocking says that research and development within the wool industry needs an overhaul.
NSW woolgrower Mr Cocking has more than thirty years of wool industry experience, including founding Riverina Wool Testers in 1994 and serving as a director on the AWI board from 2013 to 2017.
Mr Cocking said he joined the AWGA board in a bid to address issues that he was seeing play out in his own operation and across the industry.
"If you look at markets, you look at the R& D space and you look at sheep numbers, they all haven't gone the right way and we're having the same discussions we were having 10 years ago and nothing's really changed, it's got worse," he said.
"We're doing the same thing day in day out and we're not getting any different results.
"Sheep numbers are low, shearer and wool handler numbers are low, we're not getting the throughput from R & D on farm... the biggest production gains made for Merinos are really from genetics and just breeding better sheep."
Mr Cocking said he wasn't interested in "AWI bashing" but he believed that it was time to have a research and development agenda that was "cutting edge, agile and outcomes-focused".
"Research and development is the way forward... the R & D space needs a total revisit in how it's handled and who controls it because we haven't been delivering what we need on farm for growers," he said.
"Growers have handed over more than half a billion in levy funds over the past decade and this investment simply has not delivered."
"There must be input from growers, delivery of tangible and relevant outcomes for growers and complete transparency throughout the lifecycle of projects.
"We cannot progress as an industry if the current smoke and mirrors approach continues."
Mr Cocking said areas in need of greater investment include Merino genetics, flystrike and improving on-farm productivity for growers.
"I look forward to working with my AWGA colleagues to effect real change in these areas, and deliver growth and prosperity for our industry," he said.
AWGA chief executive officer Sam Stephens said they were pleased to welcome Mr Cocking to the board.
"Paul has an in-depth understanding of the industry from the perspective of a grower and as an industry leader who is committed to strong corporate governance and transparency," Mr Stephens said.
"He understands that research and development have a critical role to play in providing the best possible foundation for the wool industry's future."
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