VegNET – Wide Bay Burnett
VG19009 VegNET- Wide Bay Burnett was delivered between April 2020 and September 2021 with the objective of developing and delivering specific activities for vegetable levy payers and Industry stakeholders that work in partnership with levy payers with a focus on measurable practice change. By building the capacity of Industry with tailored focus areas the project was able to assist in enhancing the profitability and productivity of Australian vegetable businesses within the Wide Bay Burnett region of Queensland.
This phase of the VegNET program expanded on previous VegNET successes in the region with a dedicated Regional Development Officer. Utilising a systems approach shifted the focus of the program from being a conduit of information and insight during previous phases to an enabler of knowledge. In collaboration with a Regional Extension Advisory Group the Program developed a five-year vegetable extension strategic plan and exceeded its contracted extension output activities.
The project met all deliverables outlined in the project milestones. Extension activities included a grower and
agronomist breakfast, an ICA-38 Training Course in collaboration with Biosecurity Queensland, a biosecurity and
pest management workshop, an Agricultural Forum in collaboration with other stakeholders and a two-day
information booth at AgroTrend an agricultural field day in the Bundaberg area. The program also contributed to
quarterly columns in Vegetables Australia magazine in addition to quarterly in-house newsletters with the Delivery
partner. Attendance at Hort Connections Conference provided an opportunity for the Regional Development Officer
(RDO) to connect with other VegNET RDO’s as well as growers, industry stakeholders and upskill in the latest R&D.
The development of a five-year extension plan has positioned the program well to ensure a vision for vegetable
extension in the Wide Bay area is coordinated, succinct and importantly relevant to the needs of regional producers.
The program reports a 35 percent increase in grower’s awareness of vegetable R&D levy investments and the
number of stakeholders engaged in extension events on previous years. Extension programs were delivered based
on the stakeholder engagement plan and in collaboration with the Regional Extension Advisory Group.
Feedback from industry about the success of the project was positive with monitoring and evaluation data indicating
events were well attended with good one on one engagement with growers. Forty percent of participants said the
information presented was either very useful or extremely useful. When asked if the information assisted them in
making changes to their business 40 percent reported ‘mostly’, 10 percent commented ‘yes’ it did, and 30 percent
reported the information ‘definitely’ assisted them.