Picture: Farmland from the air. Credit: Tom Fisk (Pexels)

As part of CLEX’s engagement with the agricultural sector, Chief Investigators Ailie Gallant and Andrea Taschetto presented an overview of some of the Centre’s relevant research interests to the monthly meeting of the Forewarned is Forearmed Community of Practice (FWFACoP) group in June 2021.  

These monthly online forums focus on research or practice relating to extreme climate events and seasonal climate forecasting.  The audience is a diverse group of farmers and research and extension providers across Australia from organisations such as the BoM, universities, government departments and industry reps from grains, beef, sheep, horticulture, cotton, sugar, wine etc.  The forums are a great opportunity to introduce our research to potential collaborators and learn more about their interests.

Ailie’s presentation, What is the future of Australian drought research & how can this help agriculture? opened the session. Ailie regularly presents to different audiences outside academia, so she estimated it only took a few hours to modify an existing presentation. The key change was the pitch – focusing on what she wanted the audience to get from her research and making it relevant to their needs. Following the presentation, Ailie was contacted by a State Government representative who is interested in the research and would like to discuss it further.

Ailie also found the question asked during the session led to some interesting insights, particularly about shaping minor parts of her research in a way that doesn’t affect the overall aim, but which could be a useful pivot in some aspects of the research. She found these small pivots would make the research more relevant to an agricultural audience and lead to more opportunities for collaboration in the future.

Like Ailie, Andrea was able to modify an existing presentation – ENSO diversity and Australian rainfall variability – that she had presented to a NSW cotton farming group at their Winter Cropping Outlook meeting. As she was unfamiliar with the FWFA audience, Andrea presented a broad overview of the Australian rainfall impact caused by ENSO without going into the details of the science. Andrea also found the questions posed by her audience instructive with one question, in particular, making her consider how the messages from her research could be tailored further to reach a broad audience.  Andrea enjoyed being involved in the FWFA seminar and seeing how her research could have implications for the agricultural sector.

Ian Macadam, CLEX Knowledge Broker, advised on both presentations and was available during the session to help answer broad questions about CLEX and as a contact for participants to follow up with CLEX after the event. Ian is happy to help any other researchers who would like to present their research to audiences beyond academia.  

For more information, to see if your presentation would be of interest or to join their mailing list to be alerted of future seminars, contact Kate Finger, Research and Extension Officer – kate.finger@bcg.org.au.

A recording of the session is available on the FWFACoP youtube channel for future viewers.