The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) is a co-funded partnership between the Australian Government and fisheries and aquaculture. FRDC is a statutory corporation under the Primary Industries Research and Development Act 1989 (the PIRD Act) and is responsible to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
2024 Nuffield Scholar
Scouting the globe for succession success
South Australia's Thomas Cosentino is not your average farmer. He manages to run a successful beef operation, while also consulting to the southern rock lobster, strawberry and dairy industries in research fund management and advisory roles.
Thomas' 2024 Nuffield Scholarship is sponsored by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC). He will use the scholarship to review food and fibre policy around the globe, and to find ways to facilitate the succession of new generations into food and fibre production in Australia.
"Food and fibre production is such an integral part of our society that, in my view, the responsibility cannot be borne by so few," Thomas says.
"It is imperative that new entrants have pathways into agri-businesses such as meat and seafood production, so that the knowledge and expertise can be passed on. By passing on family assets efficiently and affordably, we may not have to miss out on attracting passionate, intelligent and innovative minds to food production."
His research underpins a key component of FRDC's 2020-25 research and development plan by building capability and capacity in the industry.
With his scholarship, he plans to travel to the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and the US – countries that he says have similar policy and tax frameworks to Australia – and where he aims to identify best-practice approaches. Thomas says the knowledge he has gained through consulting will benefit his scholarship.
"I am keen to evaluate and compare different succession processes from around the world to hopefully improve Australia's succession planning framework and policies.”
Thomas also runs cattle across approximately 200 hectares of land around Victor Harbor, in partnership with his wife, Aimee. They sell their beef under a retail brand at a farmers' market and sells cattle into the feeder market.
In his ‘spare time’, along with his consulting work, Thomas also works as Executive Officer for Southern Rock Lobster Limited, where he represents the industry’s peak body and provides advice on sustainable practices and production systems.
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