Farm Plus Pilot Program
The 2008–09 year has seen extensive development of the online portal to support myBMP, the web-based version of the industry’s environmental management system, Best Management Practices. myBMP is designed to enable cotton growers to self-assess their performance and practices against industry agreed standards. It will enable growers to access streamlined information packages and tools as they seek to improve practices and their business. The web-based system also provides a pathway for delivering R&D knowledge, providing targeted support for adoption and evaluating the impact of R&D on practice change. The role of FarmPlus was to deliver a knowledge resource far broader than the information contained within the myBMP site. The intention was for accreditation candidates to access broad topical information associated with a particular module. CRDC investments and personnel were central to a pilot project designed to shorten the time and reduce the complexity involved in discovering up-to-date information on cotton R&D. This was developed for the 14th Australian Cotton Conference in August 2008. Organisers provided all delegates with a USB memory stick that allowed them to upload conference presentations, video of many presentations and the papers from presenters. After the event all available information, including videos of most presentations, remained available to delegates on the Conference website. The aim of making the 14th Conference a ‘paperless’ event is being extended through a new project, managed by FarmPlus Info. This system aggregates on-line content from all cotton industry information websites and make it available inside the industry’s online BMP system. It will also provide access to the content contained in the industry’s pilot e-Learning project and provide the framework for social networking. FarmPlus is based around aggregation of industry specific information by experts with industry know-how and knowledge. It presents an opportunity to consolidate both national and international research findings to better inform primary producers, regional communities, policy makers and researchers. Upon the merge of ACGRA with Cotton Australia in 2008, CA supported the myBMP framework as industry’s knowledge system and the FarmPlus Pilot project being developed was to be tested in that environment rather than the Cotton Conference Knowledge System (see Attachment 1). FarmPlus project implementation was put on hold while Cotton Australia finalised and validated all content to be contained in the my BMP portal. Therefore FarmPlus’ system has been effectively ‘parked’ until such time as the whole system is made live and tested with the myBMP reference group of growers. The FarmPlus /my BMP project cannot progress until this is enacted. The FarmPlus /myBMP site has been developed and is parked on the FarmPlus server as a staging site until activated in myBMP.