Investing in improving the adoption of chicken meat R&D

04.05.20

The AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program has invested in a new four-year extension and training project with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland. Through targeted extension resources and activities the team aim to enhance the adoption of research and development (R&D) projects funded by the Chicken Meat Program. Led by Rachele Osmond (Extension Coordinator) and Felicity McIntosh (Training Coordinator) the project also incorporates a training component and will deliver a national training program across all areas of the production chain.

AgriFutures Australia sat down “virtually” with the team to learn more about the project.

Why is extension and training important for the industry?

The AgriFutures Australia Chicken Meat Program invests in innovative applied research across the whole chicken meat production chain. However the true value of that R&D is not evident until it is adopted by industry. A dedicated extension and training program, with targeted extension resources and training, is critical in supporting the adoption of the R&D investment and longer-term practice change for the all aspects of the production chain.

As the chicken meat industry has many diverse areas within the production chain, it has been divided into four distinct objectives in the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program Strategic Plan: The Chicken (health, welfare, biosecurity and nutrition), The Food (food safety), The Environment (internal and external, including sustainability), and The Consumer. Like AgriFutures Australia’s reports, project overviews, and content, the extension and training project will use these categories to target and develop specific extension material and training that will help to improve the adoption of industry-funded research.

How will this project benefit the chicken meat industry? Are there any learnings beyond this industry?

The Extension and Training Project will provide a range of training opportunities specific to the needs of industry. We aim to make the R&D outputs more accessible and provide industry with targeted and suitable training to facilitate continued growth, and up-skilling of industry participants. Training may also take the form of targeted company training or even one-off training opportunities.

From an extension perspective, the project will deliver extension resources, such as hosting specific industry workshops, producing a range of fact sheets that will focus on ‘how-to’ information or case studies that will showcase successes that people have achieved.

Ultimately, the project aims to remove barriers to R&D adoption and to provide a one-stop shop when it comes to training and extension. We hope that other industries will look to the chicken meat industry as an example of best practice.

Meet the team

Rachele Osmond, Extension Coordinator

How did you get involved in the chicken meat industry and particularly extension?

I have been involved in extension for about 20 years, where I have worked with various agricultural industries. I have always been drawn to extension as I really love the variety in the work. I get to be involved in making research usable and relatable, plus have the opportunity to work with all areas of industry which I find extremely rewarding. I have been involved with the chicken meat industry for close to five years now. I took a job opportunity and have not looked back ever since.

I really enjoy what I do and the industry that I work in.

What’s the best piece of professional/career advice you’ve ever been given?

“Extension is not just about the communication and adoption of research, it’s also about understanding people.”

There can be a variety of reasons why one person will adopt research and another person won’t, even when provided the same information. People learn and interpret information in a multitude of different ways. There may also be underlying background reasons that may prevent adoption such as a previous experience. By understanding and acknowledging this you can target the message differently, or present it in various ways. However, you can’t always expect 100% adoption rates.

Felicity McIntosh, Training Coordinator

Felicity McIntosh, Training Coordinator


How did you get involved in the chicken meat industry and particularly extension? 

Like Rachele, I have also been involved in beef cattle extension for most of my career. Growing up and working on a family sheep farm in NSW I was always fascinated by science and its potential to provide solutions. And very aware of how any solutions must address real needs, fit the business and most importantly make a positive difference for the people actually doing the work. I’m very excited to have the opportunity work in, and learn all about, the chicken meat industry—particularly in the area of training, another passion.

What’s the best piece of professional/career advice you’ve ever been given? 

Of all the advice I’ve been given over the years, it would have to be remembering your circle of influence – what I can and can’t control or influence. And trying to stay focused on what or where I can make a difference—not always easy!

This extension project is funded through the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program. This project supports the adoption of innovation and research and development outcomes for the Australian chicken meat industry.