New extension team to bolster research adoption in emerging industries


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Michael Thompson and Megan Hendry

Six industries with high growth potential identified as part of the AgriFutures Emerging Industries Program will benefit from a dedicated extension program to support adoption of research outputs over the next three years.

AgriFutures Australia has appointed a specialist Innovations in Agricultural Education and Extension (IAEE) team from Central Queensland University (CQU) to drive awareness and adoption of the latest industry research for six emerging industries; hazelnuts, hemp, insects, sesame, seaweed, and native foods.

AgriFutures Australia Senior Manager Emerging Industries, Dr Olivia Reynolds said the appointment of the extension team was timely to harness industry enthusiasm following the development of industry RD&E plans and blueprints.

“The extension program will focus on knowledge sharing, best practice techniques and skills development for producers and key industry stakeholders to adopt new practices that will improve production and increase profitability,” said Dr Reynolds.

CQU’s extension team is a leader in agriculture research extension, with a proven track record of driving change in rural industries across Australia and delivering new extension methods to support faster adoption of new technologies and practices. The team has worked across research and extension projects, including with the CRC for Developing Northern Australia supporting the production of new crops including black sesame, kalonji and fennel.

The project team will be led by Michael Thomson, Deputy Director of CQU’s Institute for Future Farming Systems and Agriculture Research Communications Manager, assisted by Agriculture Research Extension Officer Megan Hendry.

Working hand in hand with the AgriFutures Emerging Industries team, the extension team will apply proven methods of extension such as ‘nudge theory’, agents of change and storytelling to build producer and investor interest in the identified emerging industries. This will be complemented by the creation of practical and targeted tools, including case studies, field days, webinars, videos, education and training workshops, to showcase the latest research findings.

“Emerging industries is an exciting and interesting area to apply our team’s communication and extension skills and we are passionate about driving innovation and supporting agricultural development in Australia,” said CQU’s project lead Michael Thomson.

“Working at the forefront of new industries will allow us to connect with inspired, innovative, future-thinking people and we expect our role in amplifying their efforts to be highly rewarding.”

Emerging animal and plant industries play an important role in the Australian agricultural landscape and are increasingly making a valuable contribution to the national economy as the country strives to meet changing global food demands.

The three-year extension program will deliver on the AgriFutures Emerging Industries Program aim of establishing high potential rural industries by extending the latest research findings to support industry growth.

Learn more about the AgriFutures Emerging Industries Program and subscribe to the mailing list to receive project updates: Emerging Industries | AgriFutures Australia

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