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Grapecheque: Victorian Winegrape Extension

Jane R. Fisher1 , Rebecca Dunstone2, Megan Hill3, Stephen Kelly4 and John Whiting3

Department of Natural Resources and Environment

1Institute for Horticultural Development, Private Bag 15, Scoresby Mail Centre, Victoria, 3176.
2
Rutherglen Research Institute, Rutherglen, Vic
3
Institute for Sustainable and Irrigated Agriculture, Tatura, Vic
4
Sunraysia Horticulture Centre, Irymple, Vic

“Grapecheque” is a viticultural extension program that began in July 1997. It was established for winegrape growers throughout the state of Victoria, Australia. It is a state government funded program that aims to bring growers together to address common local issues. The program is group based, and uses adult learning principles.

A program logic, Bennett's Hierarchy (Bennett and Rockwell, 1995) has been used by the Grapecheque team in the planning and evaluating of the program. The Grapecheque team has approached evaluation systematically, aiming to use the results in making decisions about program performance and impact, program improvement, and to provide feedback to the Agriculture Industries section of DNRE (the purchaser).

Focus group surveys of Grapecheque participants revealed that Grapecheque is providing a valuable service to industry as growers prefer the mixed skills and knowledge levels of the groups. Grapecheque has resulted in growers giving greater consideration to and adoption of new technologies and management strategies. Growers are seeing the need for further research and development within their regions. Overall, the wine industry in Victoria has been very pleased with the program, and in July 1999, rated Grapecheque as a priority program for continued funding (DNRE, 2000).

Persistent monitoring and establishment of project specific indicators has facilitated the early success of Grapecheque, leading to DNRE using it as a model for their new horticultural extension program (HortEx).

References

  1. Bennett C, Rockwell (1995) Targeting Outcomes of Programs (TOP): An integrated approach to planning and evaluation. Draft.
  2. Jane R Fisher, Megan Hill, Stephen Kelly, John Whiting (2000) Grapecheque, A creative extension program making a difference. Proceedings, 16th AIAEE Conference, Arlington, Virginia April 2000.
  3. DNRE (2000) Grapecheque Program Final Report 1997-2000, in press.

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