Highly valued within the agriculture industry, grower groups are at the centre of farmer-led collaboration within their communities while providing a social hub, supporting participatory research and powerful peer to peer learning.
Also known as farming systems groups, they are usually not-for-profit organisations which aim to support the production, profitability and sustainability of their members farm businesses via adoption of new production practices, technologies, and delivery and extension of locally relevant research and development.
Mostly volunteer driven, Grower Groups are where you will find influential, high contributing local farmers committed to the progression of local agriculture and being part of solving the wider context industry challenges. They are all about what growers want, adding value to their farm businesses, care of their natural resources, their communities and their social capital. They encourage and foster a positive culture of generous two-way information sharing.
Groups have built a reputation on the basis of their outputs, services and relevance to their members and communities. They look to partner and collaborate with appropriate organisations, industry partners and stakeholders, with the purpose of progressing solutions and innovation for the greater good of their sector and the wider industry.
In Western Australia, grower groups are among the most progressive in Australia, valuing strategic, mutually beneficial links through the Grower Group Alliance and ready to engage in opportunity.
The value in working with Grower Groups
- Independent, farmer driven and managed organisations that deliver locally relevant RD&E to members. They do this by combining farmer, science and industry input to ensure relevance and rigor.
- They play a critical role in agricultural industry with strong membership and connection direct to farmers. Their continual contact with growers and industry enables them to identify emerging issues quickly and cost effectively, which is crucial for strategic and tactical investment decisions.
- They are well-networked organisations with the ability to work with multiple stakeholders (government, RDC’s, researchers, corporate agribusiness) to deliver outcomes to members.
- They are a central point of contact for their farming regions, and provide an avenue for information sharing both within and beyond their regions.
- They fill research gaps with the flexibility to deliver their own RD&E that doesn’t fit into state and national funding priorities.
- They are a trusted information source and contributor to agricultural RD&E.
- Their reputation is built on relationships, relevance and their unique position as an adoption support agent (not driven by sales or commercial structures).
- They accelerate local adoption by having the capacity to adapt practices and innovations to suit local conditions on-farm.
- They have the flexibility to be able to match and adapt learning styles and experiences to farmer member needs, and deliver outcomes ‘just in time’ rather than ‘just in case’.
- They provide great opportunities for growers to share ideas and experience (effective peer to peer learning).
- They provide a social hub for community well-being and development, including being the go to organisations in times of crisis (ie fire & drought) and play a role in supporting farmer mental health.