Tamworth Agricultural Institute (TAI) has a total staff of 125 people. This number includes 41 professional research and extension staff and 51 technical support staff directly involved with the department's front-line research and extension activities. The staff establishment is made up of 61% permanent, 30% temporary and 9% casual positions. In recent years we have expanded our staff base and now service areas not traditionally associated with the Institute's historic role. These areas include Farm Forestry, Fisheries and Biotechnology.
In 2008 the Tamworth Fisheries office relocated to the TAI. This relocation brought with it several staff including two Fisheries Officers, Fisheries Manager and three Conservation Managers. In 2009 a Game Manager from the Game Council also established an office at the institute.
TAI competes strongly for external funding support for its research and extension activities. In the last five years funding has averaged approximately $8 million per annum. TAI relies heavily on industry funding to employ technical staff and for the operation of many on-farm trial sites in the northern region. Funding has been highly competitive in the past but the model is changing to ensure a more efficient Research Development and Extension (RDE) sector. Different agencies are now taking a lead responsibility for national and regional projects. The major projects listed previously for TAI parallel national industry strategies.
TAI projects have more applied research or development that acquire new knowledge to suit regional environments, varieties and practices. And importantly they link at one end with universities that research for discovery and at the other end with extension to ensure outcomes are delivered to the NSW community. Delivery is via the existing network of experienced, accredited district agronomists and livestock officers in Industry & Investment NSW.
TAI participates in the department's quality management certification program for research laboratories and has gained ISO9001:2008 certification for eight research laboratory teams at the institute. This is an internationally recognised certification which gives assurance to clients for quality research outcomes.
TAI's ISO9001:2008 certified laboratories operate in the following research teams: