Who Is Doing the Research?Wednesday, Dec 20, 2000
A cursory discussion with a senior University manager identified concerns that should be held for the
future of education and research funding for behind the farm gate.
It seems that by the application of expert analysis and business strategy development the academics
have identified that future teaching and research activity should focus on factors beyond the farm
This seems, if correct, to be an incredibly stupid proposition and an indication of the over application
of "market" principles to areas that were once considered to be of public good - state funding
of primary industry development.
Why? Because the benefit of most farm research cannot be defended by the originator, who, therefore
cannot obtain an economic return.
If the government funded research organisations that compete for state funding are only viable when
undertaking work that can be patented, licensed and sold for extra revenue, the collective future
of on farm research is truly dismal.
Putting aside the intentions of the Dairy Boards funding of Dexcel Limited - and even that company has
a lack of clarity on how it may impact on farms. The rest of farming seems to be left to the patent
seed and medicine suppliers and patent gadget developers as the providers of new techniques and
technology to the industry.
We seem to live in times where structures that had stood the test of time are being swept away, to be
replaced by something as vulnerable as snow in summer. But even worse, there appears to be a robber's
dog in the mix as well stealing the human resource that is searching for knowledge and training.
A resource that is being diverted away farm production where the "real" production originates
into the realm of traders of paper and the other superficialities of commerce.
Can the once great ag universities be so naive?