If you’re involved in Victoria’s $55.3 billion food and fibre sector, the inaugural evokeAG conference in Melbourne should be on your radar.
Taking place 18-19 February 2019 at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building, evokeAG will attract thought leaders from Austrade, the CSIRO, Food Futures Company, KPMG and industry accelerator SproutX and feature talks delivered by global agtech experts travelling from as far afield as Israel and Silicon Valley.
The event’s main thrust is to examine ways to keep Australia’s rural industries thriving and explore innovations to reinforce our nation’s capability as a global agtech leader. It will also unveil the latest research from Australia, New Zealand and Asia, plus give startups a chance to display their technologies for investment matches.
Professor Ben Cocks, a research director at Agriculture Victoria, believes the conference’s key draw is that it brings together diverse groups in innovation - everyone from farmers, startups, accelerators, researchers, universities, businesses, corporates, governments and investors. On top of that, he says the program is designed to be engaging and forward looking, capturing some of the exciting changes in agriculture.
New farming technology - such as cattle monitoring using GPS trackers and checking electric fences via mobile phone - will be discussed, as will agricultural sustainability and the future of food. With the world’s population set to exceed nine billion by 2050, technology to produce lab food - harvesting cells in a lab to create meat, fish and eggs without animals - is a hot topic.
Locally, there's a whole lot to offer when it comes to agtech advancement. "The innovation ecosystem for agriculture is very strong, particularly here in Melbourne and Victoria with good engagement by industry, research organisations and government. We have strong universities - including University of Melbourne, Australia’s largest in Monash University and La Trobe University as the leading university in Agricultural Sciences," says Ben.
In particular, the AgriBio Centre for AgriBioscience at La Trobe University is helping to develop Smart Farms and is working with research facilities throughout regional Victoria.
"AgriBio is a major innovation asset of international standing in plant, animal, and microbiology for genetic and biosecurity innovation," Ben explains, "and aims to increase the existing collaboration with the private sector locally and internationally in sectors such as grains and dairy." It’s also home to commercialisation partnerships with DairyBio and is working with DataGene, an industry-owned organisation that provides genetic evaluation and software to dairy farmers.
To see who’ll be speaking at the evokeAG conference, visit evokeag.com.