Coutts J&R provides the M&E Support – including the use of its YourData M&E platform – for the DCAP program. The Drought and Climate Adaptation Program (DCAP) is an initiative to improve drought preparedness and resilience for Queensland producers. The program aims to do this by delivering a range of research, development and extension projects, improve seasonal forecasting and provide tools and systems that will support producers in their decision-making. DCAP consists of a number of projects that are managed and funded through a series of partnerships with government and industry partners. The largest partnership is the establishment of the Queensland Drought Mitigation Centre (QDMC) with the University of Southern Queensland and the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation.
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
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Support (23 projects)
This project was one of the Rural Research and Development for Profit funded by the Federal Government. It sought to increase profitability and productivity in the agricultural sector through faster adoption of new technology, developments and good practices, and greater on farm innovation. It planned to achieve this through having enhanced private extension services available to different industries and regions and alternative business models for a viable and profitable private advisory sector. A number of case studies in different industries were used to explore how best to strengthen this sector. Coutts J&R developed the M&E Plan and are provided M&E support for the project.
This project was about developing a tool useable by herd testing organisations, dairy farmers who herd test their cattle and their advisors. The project aimed to improve decision making for breeding and culling and so improve herd performance traits, productivity and profitability. It was critical that herd testing organisations who engaged with the program understood the benefits, tested the tool and commenced integrating the information and tool into their herd testing and reporting process. Dairy farmer leaders and advisors who were directly involved in consultation, engagement and piloting gained awareness of the purpose and benefits of the information and tool. As it is made available most will be committed to incorporating the tool into their business/decision making to inform breeding and culling decisions.
Coutts J&R developed an M&E Plan and used its online YourDATA management system to capture M&E data during the life of the project to aid evaluation and reporting.
Coutts J&R assisted DAFF Queensland in developing an evaluation framework and provides an on-going M&E platform (YourDATA) and M&E support to capture quarterly reporting across the 40 plus projects under this program area. Future Beef covers Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Kimberley/Pilbara regions of Western Australia and is described as bringing together the efforts of state government agriculture agencies and Meat & Livestock Australia to provide a coordinated approach to extension and information delivery. It is noted on the website that while partnerships with industry, natural resource management organisations and other stakeholders have been critical to providing relevant and targeted services to the beef industry, this program will see new strategically aligned and co-invested extension projects delivered by each program partner under the FutureBeef brand. Projects will reflect the National Beef Production RD&E Strategy and key priorities to achieve profitable and sustainable beef production. This type of program offers many benefits but adds a significant layer of complexity in accurately and comprehensively capturing the activities, engagement, outputs and outcomes of the different projects in a consistent way to enable effective collation and reporting against requirements at different levels and for the different investors/stakeholders. The wide geographical spread, different project objectives and the number of staff adds to the complexity.
The PEC team focuses on information, development and capacity building support for the sugar industry. It is spread over the sugar regions of Queensland and NSW and working with industry organisations to facilitate on-going improvement in sugar production, harvesting and milling. Coutts J&R is providing M&E support in terms of tools and approaches as well as the YourData platform to manage M&E information from across the regions and different activities and impacts.
Dairy Australia provides support for a number of dairy discussion groups across the dairy regions of Australia. These groups seek to provide opportunities for dairy farmers to explore opportunities and address common problems. Being spread over all regions and assisted by a number of regional staff, having a centralised web platform to capture monitoring and evaluation data assist in supporting these groups and capturing their impacts and needs.
This project being undertaken by Dairy Australia is called “Profitable dairying in a carbon constrained future”. The project is based around focus farms, Innovation hubs and other activities to work closely with the industry to maximise NRM outcomes. Our centralised M&E internet platform helped assist project staff to capture enter activities for national collation and reporting.
Coutts J&R were commissioned by AgResearch in New Zealand to assist with the monitoring and evaluation of the process and impact of applying a “co-innovation” approach in the New Zealand Agricultural Innovation System. This is a participative and interactive approach to fostering effective innovation across sectors and stakeholders. The project involved four projects each providing an “innovation network” in different industry sectors which interact with a targeted national “Community of Practice” operating across organisations from industry, research and government in three primary sectors. This required evaluation instruments capturing data at both process and impact levels and feeding emerging findings to project participants to guide on-going action.
Following an earlier foray to Port Lincoln to develop evaluation plans for a regional Climate Change Program, Jeff Coutts is worked with other program leaders to develop Log Frames, Operational Plans and evaluation for a number of other of the NRM programs.
Coutts J&R completed its second round of evaluating the Stakeholder Engagement activities of the MDBA. This was, of course, and interesting phase of consultation – after the controversial guidelines were released! Stakeholders were happy to provide their feedback and we – and MDBA benefited from their insights and experiences!