Coutts J&R

Evaluation is the foundation of strong decision making

Welcome to Coutts J&R — one of Australia’s leading evaluation companies. We have the experience and networks to meet your monitoring, evaluation and reporting needs.

Coutts J&R provides you with industry leading expertise and tools to collect, interpret and effectively use information to make the best decisions for your project and program. Our expertise is in establishing evaluation frameworks, planning and undertaking monitoring and evaluation (or mentoring your staff as they undertake the process) and measuring and reporting on impact. Our challenge is to make sure that you have the information you need to make the most informed decisions and meet your reporting requirements.

Contact Details

Phone:
+61 (0)438 361 153
Email:
jeff@couttsjr.com.au
Post:
PO Box 2681, Toowoomba Queensland 4350

Coutts J&R's Blog

Posted by Jeff Coutts
PNG Prime MinisterJeff's Trip to PNG Sketch of the Barossa grape vines The Barossa Valley South Australia Kanagroo Island rock formation

So, we are coming to the end of a very hot and dry year in this part of the world – with scorching temperatures expected this week leading up to Christmas and no serious rain predicted until early in 2020.  It’s hard enough for towns on severe water restrictions – with some already having run out of water – but so much worse for many of the farming and grazing community who depend on rain for their livelihoods.

One of the projects which we provide monitoring and evaluation support for is the DCAP project (Drought and Climate Adaption Project) which is directed at developing strategies and tools to assist producers to best plan for these eventualities.  Ironically, the massive floods in North Queensland earlier this year had a huge impact on the areas that had been impacted by drought (and are again) and it was impressive to see how the teams working in the project used their skills to support graziers going forward from this challenge as well.

It is the opportunity to sit alongside long term projects undertaking Monitoring and Evaluation that is perhaps the most satisfying in this role. We have the opportunity to work with project teams from the start in clarifying goals, performance measures and how they plan to achieve these – and then to build the M&E framework and process around these with the help of our M&E data management platform YourDATA.  We have found that M&E done systematically and well provides the basis for effective adaptive management over the life of the project as well as enabling projects to report clearly against their contracts and objectives.

This year saw another visit to Chile where I continued to work with the Consorcio Lechero on the project funded by their Department of Agriculture (INDAP) to finalise a workbook and guide on working with smallholders (in Spanish). We included the experience of the veterinarians and agronomists who are engaged in this work to ensure it was relevant and built on their pre-existing knowledge.  The other overseas visit was to PNG – a place where I have lots of history and interest.  In this case it was as an invited speaker to a University of Technology sponsored seminar on rural development.  The new Prime Minister of PNG also attended to give his vision.  PNG has many challenges – and there is a real need to up the ante with M&E of the initiatives being taken.  

Work in the reef regions of Queensland has also been on-going – and an area that we have a high level of interest and experience over the years.  Having had the opportunity to review the Reef Alliance Project (Commonwealth Government funded Reef Trust 3) earlier in the year, and then work with the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership (WTSIP) as they look ahead to needs in their region provided a lot of insights and encouragement about the efforts being made to ensure that agriculture continues to address water quality needs.

A workshop for the iMapPESTS project found Robyn and I in the Barossa Valley recently.  What a great place for a workshop – and fantastic to see the progress the project is making.  We took the opportunity to also visit Kangaroo Island while down there – well worth the visit!

Now on to 2020 – to see what it brings!  I hope the Christmas period provides the time to rest and reflect and make us all ready for what is ahead in 2020.

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News Updates

Client Project Updates/Newsletters
DCAP’s Northern Australia Climate Program produces a short-term weather forecast on a weekly basis targeted to the Queensland & Northern Australia region – you can view/subscribe to it here.

iMapPESTS: Sentinel Surveillance for Agriculture is a research project aimed at boosting on-farm pest management through rapid and accurate monitoring and reporting of airborne pests and diseases – updates and news about the project can be found here.

New Reef Regulations
The new Reef protections regulations started on 1 December 2019 and will be rolled out over the next three years in different regions based on improved water quality management priorities – more information on the regulations can be found on the Queensland Government website.

New website to support improved Reef water quality
Check out the new Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan website (www.reefplan.qld.gov.au) featuring videos, podcasts and content to explain the science and encourage land management changes that will improve the quality of water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef.

Agricultural Innovation—A national approach to grow Australia’s future
Following a collaborative stakeholder engagement process, Ernst and Young have developed the shared vision for agricultural innovation.
The vision report is titled Agricultural Innovation—a national approach to grow Australia’s future and was launched 5 March 2019. You can View the report here.

New paper published in The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension
A paper title Evaluation of rural advisory and extension services has been co-authored by Dr Jeff Coutts. You can view the paper on the journal’s website.

Recent Projects

AgSkilled is a $14.7million NSW Government funded and industry led workforce development strategy, aiming to ensure NSW’s Cotton and Grains industries have a skilled workforce, capable of meeting the challenges of the future. Coutts J&R undertook a mid-term evaluation of the program that reported on its impact and outcomes to date. The evaluation approach consisted of a broad web survey of program participants, stakeholder interviews with key partner organisations/training providers, case studies highlighting specific positive outcomes/practice change, and analysis of any evaluation data already captured by the program.

Coutts J&R in association with the Rural Consulting Group and Neels Botha Consulting were contracted by Hort Innovation Australia to develop an Extension strategy for the Australian vegetable industry and an associated plan for implementation. This process included providing a clear definition of extension needs of the vegetable industry (drawn from industry consultation); strategic direction for Vegetable industry extension services beyond March 2020; and a plan for improving industry capability for innovation and adoption of R&D.

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