Sustainability and improving access to innovation are top priorities for 2024 Future Young Leaders
Grand ideas to improve access to technology, international experience, and innovative approaches to improve the sustainability of farming, aquaculture and livestock, these are just some of the cutting-edge concepts that will be explored by Future Young Leaders at evokeAG. 2024.
Along with presenting their research and ideas on stage at the Asia Pacific’s premier agrifood event in Perth from 20-21 February, these five emerging leaders will take part in a mentoring program to develop skills, networks and connections to thrive in their careers.
Natalie Bell: Recycling livestock ear tags in circular economy
Founder of Hylo Ag Natalie Bell is pioneering a way for producers, feedlots and processors to recycle livestock ear tags. “By repurposing and incorporating seconds into production, that Australia can significantly decrease the proportion of virgin plastic used in creating new ear tags,” she said. “This can contribute to the industry’s goal of net zero by reducing emissions from virgin plastic production and reducing plastic waste in landfill.”
Natalie aims to establish an inclusive supply chain model that ensures access to plastic recycling, irrespective of geographic isolation and has begun a ‘proof of concept’ trial. She also hopes to partner with manufacturers in a more circular economy and potentially offer material cost savings to be passed onto livestock producers.
Natalie Bells 2024 Future Young Leaders Program Application Video
Guy Coleman: Farmer know-how and open-source tech
Guy Coleman has a vision for an agricultural ecosystem where hardware, software and data can be shared to drive technological innovation.
His OpenWeedLocator (OWL) is an open-source, DIY weed detector that uses green detection algorithms and off-the shelf components for low-cost fallow weed detection. “It’s crucial that the technological know-how and capability is retained, shared and not hidden behind proprietary curtains,’ Guy said.
OWL is already being used by a small community of farmers across Australia, north America, South Asia, Europe, South Africa and there’s interest in South America. Guy knows that data is key for algorithm training, so through a GRDC grant, he was involved in the development of an open-source image-sharing platform called Weed-AI, hosting over 25,000 images and code ‘Notebooks’ to help users train their own algorithms. He’s also recently launched the OpenSourceAg Newsletter as a way of growing the open-source community in agriculture with a platform for sharing ideas and opportunities for collaboration and development.
Roberta Marcoli: Innovative aquaculture to feed the world
2024 Future Young Leader Roberta Marcoli’s is passion for the marine environment stems from her childhood in an Italian fishing village. The postdoctoral researcher at James Cook University uses cutting-edge applied genomics to enhance the health and resilience of aquatic animals to offer practical and sustainable solutions for aquaculture.
Roberta Marcoli’s 2024 Future Young Leaders Program application video.
She’s also passionate about science communication and aims to establish an outreach program to educate rural coastal communities about aquaculture’s potential, the consequences of unsustainable fishing, and the urgent need for sustainability. “Through science-backed research and effective communication we can bridge the gap between the dietary needs of a growing global population and the welfare of our oceans,” she said. Roberta’s focus is on discovering innovative ways to farm aquatic animals that benefit both rural coastal communities and our oceans.
Sam Lambert: Market access solutions for commodity producers- big and small
Empowering commodity producers, no matter their size, to have equal access to opportunities and innovation is the inspiration for 2024 Future Young Leader Sam Lambert. Working with smallholder producers across the Philippines and Sri Lanka, Sam noticed the benefits of adopting innovation and technology have not been equally enjoyed and many agri-businesses and communities have been left behind.
Sam Lamberts 2024 Future Young Leaders Program Application Video
To help address this, Sam co-founded zenGate Global, a blockchain technology company that provides a market access solution for commodity producers and buyers, with scalable modules such as traceability, payments, and compliance. It’s already making a difference to the high-value-add tea industry in Sri Lanka where producers are sourcing their pre-processed tea leaves from thousands of premium and artisanal Ceylon tea farmers. Sam hopes to bring this innovation back to under-served rural communities in Australia, utilising the zenGate Global ‘Blueprint’.
RELATED: Don’t leave our farmers behind
Katia Taylor: Soils approach to farming system resilience and sustainability
Katia Taylor 2024 Future Young Leaders Program application video
Agricultural researcher and 2024 Future Young Leader Katia Taylor is committed to improving the resilience of farming systems to adapt to changing climates and meet consumer needs for healthier, sustainably-produced food. “By adopting crops with reduced requirements for water, land, and fertilisers, producers will be better able to maximise resource use efficiency and minimise waste,” she said. Katia’s putting her passion into practice, using new technologies in research that’s focused the invisible microbes that support soil health. She’s overseeing a CSIRO project that aims to find new strategies to boost carbon sequestration in agricultural soils, testing the influence of tillage, fertiliser and new mineral and microbial treatments. Katia also sees the need for industry adaption to embrace new ingredients and products to meet consumer demands and evolving nutritional needs.
Can’t help but be inspired by our 2024 Future Young Leaders? Hear more about their groundbreaking ideas and connect at evokeAG. 2024, Tickets are on sale now.