This evaluation was to assist with reporting on the current phase of the project and provide input into the application for the next phase The Sheep’s Back (TSB) is the Australian Wool Innovation’s (AWI) Western Australian extension programme managed by Icon Agriculture and is a stand-alone investment by AWI. The TSB was approaching the end of its third three year extension concluding June 2014 and it intended to apply for a further three year extension.
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
Program and Project Evaluations (42 projects)
The purpose of this review was to learn from the experiences of the past funding rounds of the Terrain NRM Reef Rescue program to inform future programs. The Reef Rescue Project was a key element of the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country initiative to improve the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, by changing land management practices to reduce nutrient, pesticide and sediment run-off. The methodology used in this evaluation included a desktop review, workshops with Terrain Extension Officers and Stakeholders, Individual Telephone interviews with Terrain staff members as well as telephone interviews with landholders (funded and not-funded).
The purpose of the reviews of these projects funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments through Caring for our Country was to learn from the experiences of the current phases of the programs to inform future phases.
The Healthy Habitats project was an initiative of the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) to protect and enhance the region’s significant biodiversity assets. It was multifaceted and large in scope and scale. The methodology included a desktop review, interviews with informed persons and a team workshop debrief.
The Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers Program was designed to foster traditional Custodians working in partnerships to manage, maintain and protect the unique cultural, spiritual and natural values of Booburrgan Ngmmunge. The program funding and staffing was managed by BMRG with the Bunya People’s Aboriginal Corporation BPAC providing leadership and guidance. There were four Rangers and a Coordindator who provided the on-ground presence of the program. A part time project officer supported the program.
The Reef Rescue Project was a key element of the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country initiative to improve the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, by changing land management to reduce nutrient, pesticide and sediment run-off. Reef Rescue at a national level was a partnership between government, industry and Natural Resource Management organisations including the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG). In the Burnett Mary, Reef Rescue is managed by the Burnett Mary Reef Partnership. The methodology used in this evaluation included a desktop review and workshops with the delivery team, Working Group members and other stakeholders.
This project evaluated three of the major projects funded by Caring For our Country – Reef Rescue; Healthy Habitats; and the Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers. The purpose is to learn from the experiences to inform the next rounds of the same projects. The process used a very interactive approach with project teams and stakeholders to gain their insights into what worked well and why – and what could be improved into the future.
The purpose of this mid-term review was to determine the success of MG10016 so far and likely future success and to make recommendations for the remainder of the project. The Mango Industry Capacity Building Program (HAL Project MG10016) was described as delivering a multi-faceted industry program which aims to ensure outcomes that have been identified as essential to support the development of the Australian Mango Industry, are achieved during the term of the project. The methodology included a desktop review and interviews with informed persons, the Management Committee and the IDM.
A very interesting project has been to review project reports and evaluations undertaken on five producer network projects funded by Australian Wool Innovation over a 10 year period. The objective was to see whether change was building on past activities and how producer networks were adding value to other programs being undertaken – and how to add to their effectiveness and evaluation. This was a very useful and valuable exercise.
This project evaluated the impact of providing incentives on attitudes and practice changes on farms. The aim was to see how incentives facilitated changes that would result in improved water quality in the waterways and how it triggered broader changes in farm management. The study highlighted the role of incentives in bringing forward changes and/or stimulating actions that may not have occurred otherwise. The need for education/extension programs to build understanding and capacity along with funds to implement some specific on-ground work emerged from the work.
Coutts J&R completed evaluations of Sheep Connect in NSW and Tasmania. Sheep Connect Tasmania has been based on running workshops and activities across the state on topics of interest supported by newsletters and a website. Sheep Connect NSW has dealt with the distance and resource issues by moving more into a knowledge brokering role where they connect producers with information and activities from a range of providers – and doing some training themselves. A key element was the need in both cases for the program to work closely with the private sector to maximise use of resources and benefits for producers and the industry.
Coutts J&R recently completed a comprehensive survey of a major extension program (http://www.evergraze.com.au/) EverGraze aimed at encouraging cattle and sheep producers in southern Australia to increase their resilience and profits by growing more perennial pastures (amongst other innovations). The survey involved surveying over 600 producers and consultants from across different regions and with different levels of exposure to the program to look at the impact of the program and factors that affected it.
Coutts J&R with colleague John McKenzie recently completed an evaluation of the Drought Support Worker program within Industry & Investment in NSW.
The program involved having staff help coordinate support and provide specific assistance to those rural families affected by drought. The evaluation highlighted at the positions provided a broader role than just dealing with drought – also coming to the fore at times of fires, floods and other disasters. Their role were seen as very valuable and providing a critical niche not filled by others. It was pleasing to see the that program has been continued for at least another 12 months.