About AIR EP
Agricultural Innovation & Research Eyre Peninsula (AIR EP) was officially incorporated on 26 May 2020, with the aim of creating a single entity for farmer driven applied research, local validation and extension of agricultural technologies and innovations on the Eyre Peninsula.
AIR EP is the result of a merger between the Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation (EPARF) and the Lower Eyre Ag Development Association (LEADA) farming systems groups, who have been very effective in providing local RD&E outcomes for upper and lower Eyre Peninsula respectively over the past 15 years. By joining forces, the new organisation will create efficiencies in administration and operations, and provide a stronger face for regional RD&E to future funders, partners, members and supporters.
The vision for AIR EP is a professional farmer owned and directed organisation that drives the advancement and practical application of agricultural scientific research, development and extension in dryland farming systems relevant to Eyre Peninsula and like environments across Australia.
The organisation will access funds to support projects that address key issues and opportunities that will increase the profitability and resilience of farming businesses in the region.
The strategic focus of AIR EP is to be:
- Responsive and relevant to our farmer and industry members, ensuring that farmers, agribusiness and the scientific community are an integral part of the planning and delivery of independent RD&E.
- Identify the strategic direction on short, medium and long term needs of the agricultural sector to include current and future issues, and to drive innovation in the sector.
- Proactive in developing proposals that address regional RD&E needs, matching needs to funding availability.
- Deliver quality applied research for the benefit of farmers on the Eyre Peninsula
- Build capacity of the agricultural sector through education, training and extension.
- Develop relationships and partnerships in collaboration with the private sector and government.
The Board is skills and geographically based, with five members elected and the other two appointed from the low and medium rainfall RD&E committees.
AIR EP Board members are selected via an application process, based on skills and experience relating to finance, legal and/or corporate governance, strategic thinking/planning, stakeholder engagement and public relations. Other skills and expertise in information and communication technology, management experience, governance experience, education expertise, understanding of the business of farming systems groups, agricultural science, farming systems on the Eyre Peninsula and past board membership are highly valued attributes of board members.
The inaugural board members are:
- Bryan Smith, Chair (Upper EP Farmer)
- Andrew Polkinghorne (Central EP Farmer)
- Bill Long (Lower EP farmer and Ag Consultant)
- Ken Webber (Ag Industry)
- Greg Arthur (Lawyer)
- Greg Scholz (Farmer, Low rainfall RD&E committee representative)
- John Richardson (Farmer, Medium rainfall RD&E representative)
Mark Stanley has subsequently been appointed to the Board as a special skills member, in the focus area of project development.
The Board are supported by Executive Officer, Naomi Scholz and Finance Officer, Alanna Barns.
LOW AND MEDIUM RAINFALL RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT & EXTENSION COMMITTEES
These committees will ensure AIR EP is well grounded to meet the ongoing RD&E needs of local farming communities. Membership will be geographically based, made up of farmers, advisors and researchers. The initial Low rainfall committee is made up of ex-EPARF Board members (Chair – Greg Scholz) and the Medium rainfall committee is made up of ex-LEADA committee members (Chair – Bruce Morgan). The role of the committees will be to:
- Develop priorities for RD&E
- Keep track of local projects and provide feedback on progress
- Assist in the operations where appropriate
- Organise local field days and forums
- Communicate with local members
- Be advocates/spokespersons for the organisation.
AIR EP attracts investment for agricultural RD&E on Eyre Peninsula through annual memberships, sponsorship and funding organisations. Our key project investors include the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program (NLP), Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC), South Australian Grains Industry Trust (SAGIT), Soils CRC and the EP Landscape Board.
Research, Development & Extension Projects
AIR EP collaborates with a range of service providers to deliver agricultural RD&E projects on Eyre Peninsula.
AIR EP offers agriculture related businesses the opportunity to become part of its network of farmers, researchers and industry supporters annually, with various levels of partnership and exposure available.
View our current sponsors here.
AIR EP membership goes towards supporting a range of agricultural research and extension activities on the Eyre Peninsula. Membership is an annual subscription from July to June. There are three different membership options.