A powerful gathering focused on the future of Australian agriculture


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The AgriFutures Australia Stakeholder Forum, held in Wagga Wagga on 26 October 2017, marked another first for the organisation, bringing together key stakeholders in one location to learn, connect and hear first-hand how we can shape the future of Australian agriculture.

With a common goal of building a $100 billion agriculture sector by 2030, the Forum discussions explored how together we can deliver benefits to the entire nation and ensure the long-term profitability and sustainability of rural industries.

The Forum brought together more than 100 attendees including representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR), National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), levied industries, new and emerging industries, emerging leaders, AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award Alumni, AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholars and key private sector stakeholders including Westpac, KPMG and Rural Bank.

“This is the first time in we have asked our networks to gather in one location and that’s because the most important part of our future is our networks and our connections,” said Kay Hull AM, AgriFutures Australia Chair.

“The people we work with, the industries we serve, the partnerships we have and the new ones we forge are intrinsically linked to our new and exciting direction.”

AgriFutures Australia’s new direction is backed by a new Strategic R&D Plan 2017-2022 and a focus on growing the long-term prosperity of Australian rural industries through research and innovation.

Keynote speakers provided insights from their respective organisations, including Kay Hull, Fiona Simson, National Farmers’ Federation President, Jo Grainger from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and John Harvey, AgriFutures Australia Managing Director.

Former AgriFutures Australia Deputy Chairman, Kevin Goss, shared the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) journey, including the relocation from Canberra to Wagga Wagga, and the rebranding story.

In the form of four panel discussions, stakeholders were introduced to AgriFutures Australia’s new arenas that guide research and investment; Growing Profitability, People and Leadership, National Challenges and Opportunities, and Emerging Industries.

An open floor session to conclude the day’s discussions outlined key take-home messages:

  • There are huge synergies between our diverse stakeholder groups and opportunities for each industry to learn from one another
  • Industries are facing similar challenges and opportunities
  • Interest in ag tech is incredibly strong, rural industries need to continue to innovate and look at new ways of thinking
  • The role of extension is key to delivering research outcomes to growers
  • Education is critical and we need to continue to focus on capacity building
  • Transfer of knowledge between generations and succession planning needs to be addressed
  • Careers in agriculture are changing and technology will impact jobs of the future
  • Emerging industries have huge potential to contribute to the growth of the agricultural sector
  • Building connections, including mentoring, between industries is important for collaborating and sharing knowledge

AgriFutures Australia has an important role to play in the future of Australian agriculture. The Stakeholder Forum provided a valuable opportunity to bring our rural industries together to share ideas and experiences, and most importantly a chance to contribute to our future.

With our new Strategic R&D Plan 2017-2022 approved we can confidently step into the next chapter of our journey and commit to delivering programs that will continue the growth and development of our rural industries and people.

John Harvey, AgriFutures Australia Managing Director – Presentation
Fiona Simson, National Farmers’ Federation President – Presentation
AgriFutures Australia Stakeholder Forum – Summary Illustrations


Fast Facts

  • More than 100 people attended the 2017 AgriFutures Australia Stakeholder Forum
  • Together, we are striving to build a $100 billion agricultural sector by 2030
  • Until a farmer does something different on farm, the return on R&D investment is zero

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