Two officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) have been awarded a 2020 Churchill Fellowship award.
The prestigious award funds recipients to investigate an issue that they are passionate about globally, for the betterment of themselves, industry, community and Australia.
Primary industries trade manager I-Lyn Loo will examine the commercial drivers behind regenerative agriculture and what motivates consumers to pay a premium price for products produced via this holistic farming system.
Livestock identification and traceability manager Beth Green intends to explore what motivates the livestock industry in different countries to embrace self-regulated livestock and food safety traceability programs.
DPIRD Director General Ralph Addis said he was proud of the pair’s achievement and wished them well in their endeavours to advance Western Australia’s primary industries.
“Sustainable agricultural production and traceability for disease control and food safety are two pertinent issues facing global food production,” Mr Addis said.
“I-Lyn and Beth are both passionate about what they do and will be able to bring the learnings from their research and travels back to the department to add value and help enhance our primary industries’ right to farm.
“Together with research scientist Tracey Kreplin, who received a Churchill Fellowship to study predator management in South Africa in 2019, these women epitomise the passion, expertise and commitment of our staff throughout the state.”
When the borders re-open, Ms Loo intends to visit the United States and Europe to visit businesses, consultants and governments to learn more about the financial incentives and mechanisms behind valuing regenerative agriculture.
“These interviews will provide an insight into consumer behaviour and how these behaviours shape a company’s purchasing policies,” she said.
“I’m also interested in how consumer behaviour drives the parameters for regenerative agricultural certification and how that translates to the production environment.
“I’m looking forward to sharing my learnings with the department and industry to encourage the uptake of regenerative agriculture practices.”
Ms Green plans to visit Scotland, Canada, the United States and Uruguay to examine how each country’s traceability system for sheep, cattle and goats are evolving.
“A safe and sustainable food supply chain free from disease and contaminates, backed by a strong traceability system is paramount for animal health, public health and market access,” she said.
“I hope to discover what motivates livestock industries in different countries to develop consistency in traceability systems and achieve a high level of participation for self-regulation.”
With borders currently closed, Ms Loo and Ms Green do not know when they will have the opportunity to travel to fulfil their Fellowship, while Dr Kreplin’s itinerary has also been disrupted by the pandemic.
When they do, they will present the findings from their research to industry on their return.
2020 Churchill Fellowship Award Recipients from across Australia were announced this week.
Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison
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