On Tuesday 13 October Oliver McConnachie, Cape York NRM’s Regional Extension Officer, hosted the Far North Queensland Cross-Regional Extension Practitioners Forum in Cooktown. Extension staff from Cape York and south to the Atherton Tablelands came together to form a community of practice and discuss the best ways to collaborate.
In the world of agriculture, extension is the process of enabling change by land managers involved in the primary industry sector. Extension practitioners work with land managers by supporting voluntary change to help them improve productivity, profitability, and environmental outcomes.
The Forum was facilitated by Canegrowers’ Angela Williams who presented the recently published Queensland Extension Model of Practice document. The Model will assist extension practitioners to deliver cohesive messages to support decision-making and the implementation of practice change.
In addition to familiarising themselves with the Model, participants worked on their delivery strategy to highlight what they need to consider before engaging with land managers. The emphasis was that collaboration is all about the people you meet and not about the project.
They talked about how starting at the end, at the desired outcome, was the place to begin. Find out what it is that the land manager wants to achieve and discuss ways that this could happen. They decided that arriving at the outcome could take many steps and several side tracks, plus also achieve other unexpected beneficial outcomes along the way.
An example of this could be that a grazier wants better quality beef but, to reach this goal, may need to remediate some streambanks, carry out some gully restoration or weed control, or even reduce stock numbers. These are some steps that might have to be taken to reach the goal, and might also bring about bonus outcomes of reduced sediment runoff, and improved native groundcover and better water quality.
They all agreed that collaboration between the land manager and the extension officer is about sharing ideas and coming to an agreed solution to reach the desired goal.
If you’d like to chat with Oliver, he can be contacted on 0427 597 854, or by email at email@example.com
This project is supported by Cape York NRM and Terrain NRM with funding from the Queensland Government through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries