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What are the critical success factors to an agricultural non-profit excelling in knowledge creation and dissemination for industry improvement.

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Executive Summary

The South Island Dairy Development Centre (SIDDC) is a non-profit set up through a collaborative effort of seven dairy industry partners: Lincoln University, AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, DairyNZ, Ravensdown Fertiliser Cooperative, LIC, and SIDE (South Island Dairy Event). Founded in 2001, it has operated the Lincoln University Demonstration Dairy Farm (LUDDF) as a means to advance South Island dairying.

SIDDC achieves this through the development and refinement of innovative farm systems on LUDDF; decisions involve multiple stakeholders for management and governance support. It integrates applied research within and alongside the commercial farm operation to further industry perspective on key issues such as nutrient loss and ground water quality. Farmers and industry are then invited to engage with these findings through regular field days, weekly published technical notes and a comprehensive website and social media presence.

SIDDC also provides a forum for the partners CEO’s to network and gain context and perspective on industry issues affecting South Island dairying, and then work to align efforts in tackling these issues.

Recent uncertainty in the dairy industry around milk price and nutrient limits are creating opportunity for non-profits such as SIDDC to provide leadership to the industry. In this uncertain environment it is appropriate for SIDDC to review its strategic plan; this report is part of that review.

Through literature review of the successful strategies of non-profits I identified that clarity on mission is essential, and enables delivery on high value outputs in a social good entity. I developed a logic model to explain SIDDC’s value chain. It represents the flow of information across the interface of SIDDC, LUDDF and the wider industry. From this I identify the key relationships and focal points to create knowledge for industry advancement.

A strong strategy for SIDDC is in part born out of better understanding of its value chain and then through applying this to the evolving environment of the South Island Dairy Industry. I recommend SIDDC tighten up its mission statement, further survey its target audience for clarity on the market situation, and look to strengthen its relationship with Lincoln University to further integrate industry and academic opportunities for applied science.

What are the critical success factors to an agricultural non-profit excelling in its role of knowledge creation and dissemination for industry improvement? – Corrigan Sowman