41st NZDFA AGM Remits

41st NZDFA AGM Remits

Summary

The 2 remits sent to the 41st NZDFA AGM for discussion related to DEEResearch outputs and communication.

The Remits were both passed and accepted by the meeting in general terms to ensure that both communication of results and applications, and consultation with deer farmers and DEEResearch are a high priority. Discussion recognized there is great value in the contribution of AgResearch, DEEResearch and the industry’s deer farmers DFA bodies and all sectors in determining directions in consultation, of reporting and communication vehicles and feedback opportunities.

The discussion was supportive for Remit of the Role that DEER Facts can play in communicating research results and application to deer farmers.

There were mixed but generally favourable views that a DFA Research Advisory Committee if strategically used could be a good vehicle to provide commentary back to the DEEResearch Board and AgResearch scientists on a view re practical relevance of both immediate issue solving research and some of the longer term “blue sky “research projects that are an investment in the future. The discussion also supported the strong role DEEResearch has in reporting to the annual DFA Branch chairs meeting and suggested too   that a view from the Next generation group will become increasingly important.  

 

Remit 1 - North Island Branch Chairmen

Research Extension

“That current research (2011-2016) findings be made readily available: specifically Johne’s disease research, the Deer Progeny Test results and DEER Link project outcomes be made available to all deer farmers annually using “Deer Facts”

Moved, Leith Chick; Seconded; Campbell Clarke.

 

Remit 2:  Southland

DEEResearch and practical relevance

“That research topics funded by DEEResearch have practical relevance to modern deer farming, and that the New Zealand Deer Farmers Association through formation of a DFA based Research Advisory Group drawn from the Branches have input into selection of projects and are kept informed about this research including regular progress reports where possible.”

The basis of this remit is that there is a feeling of disconnect between members of the branches and research such that at times funding is provided for research which seems of low relevance to deer farmers in the field, and/or even if the research has a positive outcome there are practical reasons why there would be little or no uptake in the field.

It is also felt that better communication and discussion at branch level might assist with identifying and promoting topics that would benefit from more research.

Moved, Richard Cook; Seconded, Brian Russell.

 

AGM discussion in detail (Extract of Draft Minutes of 41st AGM)

NZDFA Branch Remits 2016

 

Remit 1) North Island Branch Chairmen
Research Extension

“That current research (2011-2016) findings be made readily available: specifically Johne’s disease research, the Deer Progeny Test results and DEER Link project outcomes be made available to all deer farmers annually using “Deer Facts”

Moved; Leith Chick, seconded Campbell Clarke.

In moving the motion Leith Chick argued that from his perspective there were any examples of research being done  and dome well   but results  and recommendations at the user  level were often too little too late or not made public at all. He cited the examples of Jd where strains of deer were more susceptible than others yet these had yet to be identified.

DISCUSSION:

Grant Charteris supported the use of DEER Facts as a good medium for reporting as these were in useable form, in language that was user friendly and easily shared.

Dan Coup advised that if this was more a matter of developing better communication in the area then DEEResearch and DINZ would work harder in this area. He commented that the use of DEER Facts as a new approach for research summary was an excellent idea.

In relations to suggestions that DEEResearch was somewhat remote. He advised that this year there was a lot of work behind a move to have DEEResearch and VARNZ restructured into a single entity. It should allow better research commissioning and he would ensure that the inputs and outputs and learnings from research would be available and in useful lay form as well as in the scientific media. He certainly accepted the message inherent in the remit. Dan Coup also suggested that the DFA could nominate l key people to be sounding boards for new efforts in communication of research, and suggest if there was a better way or a different emphasis for that audience then that feedback was important.

Donald Whyte requested clarification that the remits specification of DEER Facts as the advisory source was intended to be the only source and believed that many other options (including the formal report from DEEResearch that had been produced over the past 2 years) should also be used in written and e media. However he shared and supported the sentiment of the remit.

Geoff Asher (Leader of Deer Research Group, AgResearch, Invermay) committed to support any initiatives   in the media   beyond the pure science, research reporting and advised that AgResearch too was working on better media connection for farmers.  While reporting generally had to meet science disciplines and accuracy, it was good to have an industry connection via Deer facts, and in his view there were one of a number of new avenues to develop.

Campbell Clarke also suggested deer facts could be a ready guide to information re Chemical products and do s and don’ts similar to annually published guides for parasitism treatments in sheep and cattle.

Further commentary suggested an amendment related to the DEER Facts useage and adding the words” including” DEER Facts to the remit. The meeting did think the intent was clear enough allowing discretion and use of as many avenues as possible, but agreed to support the amendment for certainty

The amendment was moved Tony Pearse seconded Leith Chick and carried and the amended remit then moved and Carried without dissent. 

 

Remit 2:  Southland
DEEResearch and practical relevance

“That research topics funded by DEEResearch have practical relevance to modern deer farming, and that the New Zealand Deer Farmers Association through formation of a DFA based Research Advisory Group drawn from the Branches have input into selection of projects and are kept informed about this research including regular progress reports where possible.”

The basis of this remit is that there is a feeling of disconnect between members of the branches and research such that at times funding is provided for research which seems of low relevance to deer farmers in the field, and/or even if the research has a positive outcome there are practical reasons why there would be little or no uptake in the field.

It is also felt that better communication and discussion at branch level might assist with identifying and promoting topics that would benefit from more research.

Moved Richard Cook, Seconded Brian Russell.

 

DISCUSSION:

Richard Cook in moving the motion advised the Branch believed that research input from DFA members would result in a more robust direction in research that was better targeted at the coal face of deer production on farm, The Remit arose out of concern in recent years that there was less information on research outcomes being passed on to farmers and a separation between Researchers, DEEResearch and relevance grass roots farmers was widening. That included a slowdown in timeliness of research reporting, which impacted also on take up of new research results.

Graham Carr supporting the motion agreed entirely with the remit sentiments and asked for an explanation from DINZ that outlined how feedback from farmers was sought re Research directions these days as a mechanism once existed to assess and rank projects but under today’s funding model that appeared to have been superseded.

Chair of DEEResearch, Collier Isaacs agreed that research outcomes must be used out in the field, Relevance was always considered and there was a DFA recommended Board member on DEEResearch (Previously Dr Noel Beatson, now Dr Ian Walker). DEEResearch considered the annual meeting with the NZDFA chairs (and release of the DEEResearch publication of deer science and future directions and important part of the advisory and feedback processes.  DEEResearch was also kept well informed via DINZ and DFA Executive Committee, through reporting from the P2P programme and Advance Parties on the on farm issues that were considered in developing research priorities.  He conceded that the fact the issue was raised suggested these avenues may not be as effective as was thought  but the DEEResearch Board was committed to finding better ways to make the “research boat go faster”.

Grant Charteris supported the remit   but suggested the Executive Committee at national level should also step up more in communication and take more ownership of programmes alongside DINZ and DEEResearch especially prior to reporting annually to DFA groups. He was supportive of the concept of a DFA based Research Advisory Group (RAG) in principle.

Geoff Asher Leader of the AgResearch Deer Research group said that there was a responsibility for the group to relevant and suggested that in general terms that they were engaged especially related to DEERSelect and the DPT, He supported a RAG concept  if it was  run effectively as it was really difficult to get good engagement with everyone every time. There were consultation models already working (The Parasite working group, and DEERSelect reference group and good engagement with the Deer Branch of NZVA). There was also good consultation with other stakeholder (processors and Landcorp) as well as deer farmers DFA and DINZ. He also said that some core science development  from the more speculative  long term Horizon 3 aspect of research was critical for innovation   and while that may not appear to be an immediate short time problem solver, there was a strong track record of directing future successes in research areas  and productivity gain. AgResearch also funds DEEResearch at a level of $3.1:$1 from the industry which was a unique, large and valued investment in the Deer industry compared with other sectors. Science has to balance the investment into basic H1 work with Fundamental science in H3 as its own investment in the future. Those aspects are always considered in ranking project relevance and priority.

John Somerville  acknowledged that but did think that there still was a fundament grass roots input to the practicality of a on farm relevance and potential uptake in some areas  and a DFA perspective might be useful in this commentary.

Clive Jermy (also Chair of the Deer Industry Research Trust) suggested that there was value in starting the process of feed back to DEEResearch as early as possible for feedback. He believed that all $ that were being spent had covered the short , medium and long term needs well  and there was more of a communications issue in general and perhaps around some of the feedback through the consultation networks. Overall   the industry has been very well served he suggested and there was always some tweaking and modifying happening to projects to ensure maximum relevance.

Lorna Humm (Animal Health Theme group manager in the P2P programme) was confident that as the three theme groups evolved and linked with d framers in the Advance parties  there would be additional producer views accessible to researchers and DEEResearch and that avenue would also be good for transferring results, practice change and allow immediate feedback on where next.

John Sommerville  said while he supported the idea of a RAG, there should not be such groups established for the sake of it , Communications improving may be just as important

Richard Currie argued that there was great expertise within the DFA and industry and that consulting with the branch chairs in the first instance may not be as effective as a target RAG.

Tim Aitken while acknowledging that the DEERSelect reference group worked well, there has to be a limit to how many committees a small industry needed or should run.

Support for the RAG concept also came from Bill Taylor and Kris Orange

Andy Macfarlane agreed that there had been an interesting point rose about the depth and direction of communication, and suggested that may be the current linkages were not as clear as had been thought. Similarly a connection also with the Next Generation viewpoint as that group becomes more prominent in succession would be helpful. If there was a disconnect it was a serious risk and situation, especially for the directors, and all would benefit if practical directions and applications of research were well communicated  in extension, and that would also bring good feedback to the table

Richard Cook as mover said he was heartened by the discussion and especially the perspectives and commitment for the future from Geoff Asher

The Chairman put the motion but Prior to voting Mike Salvesen said he would move   that the Motion should be left on the table  and allow the Executives of DINZ  , DEEResearch and the Executive Committee of DFA  to get to work  and set up a system for active feedback , and report back next AGM

Steve Borland raised a point order at this and advised as the Chair had put the motion following the discussion it was not able to be modified or set aside for a year

Sharon Love asked if a closed Facebook page that was able to be used in house for discussion and canvassing views might be an alternative to a RAG at least as a suggested stating point.

Graham Sutton advised the meeting that the Motion was put and not open to further discussion. Following the initial voice vote a show of hands was asked for and the motion was carried at a ratio of 3:1 (24 for and 8 against)