Qld Farmers’ Federation (QFF) contracted Coutts J&R to undertake an independent evaluation of the Reef Alliance Project (RAP). The project is an initiative of the Reef Alliance to advance farming beyond industry best management practice (BMP) and fast-track the implementation of innovative practices – primarily through an extension-based approach, combined with access to specialised technical training, and in some cases, financial support for infrastructure, farm improvements or machinery where this is indispensable.
Jeff and his team at Coutts J&R has provided leadership in the development of intervention and evaluation approaches across Australia and beyond in rural and regional development, Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) and education. The projects listed in this section are examples of those undertaken in recent years – ranging from individual project evaluations to working with national funding bodies to developing monitoring and evaluation frameworks to guide investments and reporting.Read More
Independent Program Reviews (15 projects)
Coutts J&R worked with the WTSIP partners to consider the future role and appropriate structures and processes post their management of the Reef Alliance Program (RAP) in the Wet Tropics. This is also included reviewing extension roles and pathways.
The Australian Soil Network (ASN) is responsible for implementing the National Soil Research, Development and Extension Strategy – which includes developing and implementing a process for national coordination and prioritisation of investment in soil RD&E. Coutts J&R undertook a review that provided an assessment of the success of the implementation of The Strategy and made recommendations for its future. Evaluation activities for the report included interviews with Members of the ASN, interviews with nominated Stakeholders, and reviewing provided documents.
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.
The Carbon Farming in the Australian Cotton Industry project was primarily focused on integrating the latest information on carbon, climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions management into the cotton industry’s extension efforts. It approached this primarily through a collaborative strategy of up-skilling project staff who in-turn engaged in developing the capacity of industry advisers. Coutts J&R undertook a review of the project to report on the its achievements and impacts. The review process included a desktop analysis of secondary data, a telephone survey of growers and advisers, and informed person interviews. The review found that the project had been effective in achieving its primary objectives and demonstrated the value of an integrated and collaborative approach and the importance of upskilling professionals servicing the industry.
Coutts J&R providied an independent review of programs funded by the Queensland Government (QNRM) as part of adaptive management improvement in project planning, delivery and evaluation” QNRM funding goes across 3 programs: Sustainable Agriculture; Pest & Weeds; and Water Quality (specific Area).
Jeff Coutts was subcontracted by Deloitte to provide independent capacity building expertise as part of a mid-term review they are undertaking of the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) Dairy Value Chain Transformation Program. The program is an ambitious 7 year project which aims to boost gains in the dairy industry through targeted research, improved capacity building and improved supporting structures in the industry.
The Reef Plan 2013 Extension and Education Strategy (E&E Strategy) Update was the result of a review of the 2010 Reef Water Quality Protection Plan Extension and Education Strategy. This strategy update was an action under Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan) 2013 to take into account changes in the extension and education landscape, government policy and funding, advances in scientific consensus and industry initiatives. It was initiated by the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and undertaken under the guidance of the Management Practice Advisory Group (MPAG) in 2014.
This review of its regional service delivery needs and the associated roles of the Regional Development Programs (RDPs) in supporting these initiatives was commissioned by Dairy Australia (DA) in the light of changes that had occurred in recent years within the operational and funding environment. The aim of the review was to inform the improvement of a regional service model that met the needs of Dairy Australia, RDPs and dairy farmers across the eight dairy regions of Australia.
The purpose of this review was to benchmark the NCDEA against program objectives, to determine its contribution to industry education and training and identify where there was scope to refine the approach to maximise the benefits to the dairy industry. The National Centre for Dairy Education Australia (NCDEA) is the Australian dairy industry’s provider of education and training. The Centre includes a partnership alliance of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) across Australia, supported by Dairy Australia and delivering training and skills recognition for pre-farm gate dairy workers and the manufacturing sector. Education and training delivered by the NCDEA aims to respond to industry and student learning needs to bring dairy education and training under one umbrella.