A newsletter from the AgriFutures™ Chicken Meat Program
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Welcome to the Beak to Beak newsletter

Welcome to the first AgriFutures™ Chicken Meat Program newsletter "Beak to Beak”. The name reflects the importance of a connected industry to promote good practice and working together to achieve common goals. And in case you missed it - Beak to Beak is a play on 'cheek to cheek' dancing, where the people involved stand close together to achieve a common goal. This time it may not be a dance routine - it is the underlying threads that are vital to a healthy and thriving industry: such as Health and Disease Management, Welfare, Antimicrobial Stewardship, Food Safety, Biosecurity and so on.

This regular communique will bring you the latest news from the AgriFutures™ Chicken Meat Program including: new research projects, links to manuscripts, podcasts, project summaries and upcoming events such as conferences, forums, workshops and relevant training. 

We welcome your feedback and input into future editions, contact: 
Georgie Townsend, Extension Officer
Georgina.Townsend@agrifutures.com.au | 0432 350 364

And as we grow our network, please help us spread the word and encourage colleagues to sign up to receive regular chicken meat information. 

Introducing Ashley Radburn: AgriFutures™ Chicken Meat Program Manager

Ashley Radburn joined AgriFutures Australia in May 2018 as Program Manager, Research & Innovation and comes from a long association with rural industries. Ashley’s career started with the Department of Agriculture in the early 80’s working on the Brucellosis Eradication Program, he then moved on to agricultural research at the Orange Agricultural Institute where he was heavily involved in animal production, sustainable management systems and veterinary health related programs.

In 2001 Ashley began managing research institutes and stations for NSW DPI at a number of locations across NSW. In 2009 he commenced at the National Wine & Grape Industry Centre, a partnership between NSW DPI CSU and the NSW Wine Industry Association, then went on to work with Charles Sturt University as a Research Evaluation Officer. Ashley has managed a wide variety of rural enterprises including livestock, broad acre cropping, horticultural and state of the art research facilities. Ashley holds a Management Degree (Farm Business) from Sydney University, Diploma in Agribusiness and post graduate qualifications in marketing and procurement.

Chicken Meat RD&E Program

The AgriFutures™ Chicken Meat RD&E Plan 2014-2019 is being reviewed and we are getting ready to implement the new strategic plan. Kylie Hewson, Program Development Officer and Georgie Townsend, Extension Officer, have been coordinating a series of targeted forums with key industry stakeholders to inform the strategic direction for the industry’s investment in RD&E in the short, medium and long-term.

The new strategic plan will be aligned with the AgriFutures Australia Strategic Plan 2017-2022 and informed by the information gathered from industry forums to develop a flexible strategy that is adaptable to the needs and wants of the fast paced chicken meat industry. You will see evidence of this new strategy in the coming months through the various open calls and engagement with the AgriFutures™ Chicken Meat Program. Please contact us if you have any questions.


Research in focus

Streamlined planning and development in the meat chicken industry

Eugene McGahan, Integrity Ag

This project aims to improve the process of planning and environmental approvals for meat chicken farms.

This first stage of the project was to identify issues with the current regulatory approvals framework for meat chicken farms, and propose solutions which will streamline this process. A review of planning and environmental legislation has been undertaken, as well as a national survey of producers, regulators and consultants. From this research several important issues have been identified.

The difficulties surrounding odour impact assessments, and environmental impact assessments were key issues for all industry stakeholders. A national environmental guideline for the meat chicken industry has been identified as a way forward in addressing these issues, by providing science based information. The development of a national guideline has generated significant support throughout the initial consultation process.

The proposed national guideline will provide guidance to producers on key environmental and planning considerations that need to be addressed as part of a proposed development, and measures that can be implemented to reduce environmental risk. It will support new and existing producers with guidance on environmental management plans and environmental management systems – a key issue identified by producers.

A national environmental guideline will also help unfamiliar regulators to gain a better understanding of the meat chicken industry, as well as the nature and minor scale of environmental risks associated with it. Regulators have identified that having up-to-date scientific information to support decision making will greatly improve the approvals process, providing a faster and less costly outcome for producers.

A series of workshops have been held to gain greater understanding of the key issues and how proposed solutions can help to solve them.

For more information contact Eugene McGahan at Integrity Ag.


Open call for researchers

There are three open call opportunities each year which give researchers the ability to submit their project ideas. The next open call is planned for early September, with another in December/Jan and then Feb/March. The AgriFutures™ Chicken Meat Program investments are directed identifying industry needs which are then prioritised by the AgriFutures™ Chicken Meat Advisory Panel and released during the first open call. Any project ideas that aren’t on this list of priorities should be discussed with the Program Manager and/or the Program Development Officer to receive feedback on whether there is industry need or interest, prior to submitting the proposal. We’re open to these discussions at any time, and particularly welcome enquiries related to priorities released during the open call.

For more information
visit the AgriFutures Australia research website. 

Sign up to the AgriFutures Australia newsletter to receive research updates and information on open calls.

2018 Gary Sansom Scholarship winner announced

The inaugural Gary Sansom Scholarship was presented to Ashlee Morgan at the 2018 Poultry Information Exchange (PIX) on Tuesday, 5 June 2018 by Gary’s wife, Julie Sansom. The prestigious scholarship was awarded to Ashlee for her research project on understanding factors for attracting and retaining youth in the poultry industry, a key focus of the AgriFutures™ Chicken Meat Program, and her keen interest in contributing to the poultry industry in the long-term.

Capacity building in the chicken meat industry

Working in the chicken meat industry as a ‘poultry veterinarian’ or ‘technical services manager’ for a chicken meat company may not be the first words that role off a young child’s tongue when they are asked what they want to be when they grow up. Finding people with the right skills a place in the fast paced industry is a key focus for Program Development Officer, Kylie Hewson. We interviewed two newcomers to find out how they made their start in the chicken meat industry.