Workshop helps shape future of AgTech, good jobs in Central Queensland

Published Tuesday, 22 November, 2022 at 04:35 PM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

Growers and agri-technology representatives are gathering in Emerald this week as part of AgTech Month to collectively brainstorm new and clever ways to address cropping challenges with technology solutions.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Emerald’s new Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre is the perfect forum for this meeting of the minds.

“The Smart Cropping Centre is rapidly developing into a hothouse for robotics, sensor networks, drones and other tech which supports farming systems in an environment of increasing climate variability,” Mr Furner said.

“Just recently, the Smart Cropping Centre has begun using robots and drones on the site to field test their capabilities.

“This week’s co-design workshop will flesh out the challenges the local agricultural industry faces and what they believe would make a difference to their business and industry.

“The information gathered will ensure the centre continues to shape its work in a direction that is meaningful and supportive of local producers.

“The role of the Smart Cropping Centre is to develop solutions that assist producers in maximising their efficiency, so collaboration is key.

“This kind of innovation points the way to the future of agriculture and the thousands of good jobs that rely on this industry.

Mr Furner said Central Queensland is an important agricultural production region, contributing significantly to Queensland’s $23 billion agricultural industry.

“As part of the 2021 State Budget, the Queensland Government invested $5.85 million to develop the Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre as an innovation flagship that brings together RD&E in farming systems, agronomy, crop innovation and plant protection with the latest innovations in AgTech and data sciences to deliver a world-class research hub for Queensland’s cropping sector,” he said.

“It will boost local and national industry confidence to invest in new technologies and growing systems to achieve growth in productivity, expand exports and ensure future food security.”

The centre is part of the Queensland Smart Farms initiative which is developing a network of farms and facilities dedicated to advancing Australia’s agriculture and food industries through AgTech innovation–AgTech in action.

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Media contact:          Ron Goodman            0427 781 920