Cracking the whip of innovation: Meet the Beef2024 evokeAG. Pitch In The Paddock finalists - evokeAG.

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Cracking the whip of innovation: Meet the Beef2024 evokeAG. Pitch In The Paddock finalists

With more applications than ever before, it’ll be a nail-biting, whip cracking, nerve wracking time when the 2024 evokeAG. Pitch in the Paddock Competition fires up next month at Beef2024. Get to know the eight visionaries and innovators who will be going head-to-head in Rockhampton, Queensland.

A display cheque is presented to Emma Black and Shannon Speight on stage at Beef2021. Emma Black and Shannon Speight from Black Box Company took out the 2021 Pitch In The Paddock competition.

What is evokeAG. Pitch In The Paddock?

evokeAG. Pitch In The Paddock is the only agricultural pitch competition of its type in the world.  

It offers entrepreneurial talent the chance to present their beef-centric business idea, proof of concept, prototype, or new product to a panel of investors, live, and on stage in front of the largest gathering of beef industry stakeholders, influencers, media and consumers in the Southern Hemisphere.  

Finalists will present a five-minute pitch to a panel of judges and a live audience on Wednesday, 8 May 2024 in Rockhampton, Queensland at Beef2024, Australia’s national beef expo.  

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Up for grabs is $10,000 and opportunities to network with potential investors and customers. Keep an ear out for the unmistakable sound of the whip on stage as the 30 second warning keeps contestants – and the audience – on their toes.  

Biggest and best yet

Applications opened in November 2023, encouraging startups, inventive individuals, and agritech developers to pitch their idea – and they didn’t hold back.  

“We’ve had an overwhelming response, making the 2024 competition the most competitive yet,” – Beef Australia CEO Simon Irwin.

Simon said the evokeAG. Pitch In The Paddock competition serves as a platform for innovation, fostering the brightest ideas and solutions across the beef supply chain. 

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“Beef Australia exists for the advancement of the Australian beef community and the Pitch In The Paddock Competition plays a large role in supporting this purpose and driving progress across the industry,” he said.  

Meet the judges

A powerhouse panel of judges will bring a wealth of experience and insight to the table at the evokeAG. Pitch In the Paddock.  

The five judges are:  

Simon said it’s an honour to have such an acclaimed judging panel on board.   

“The judges’ collective expertise and industry insights will ensure a fair and comprehensive evaluation of the innovative pitches that will be presented by our eight finalists at Beef2024,” he said.  

RELATED: What happens when passion meets practicality in innovative agriculture

AgriFutures Australia General Manager of Global Innovation Networks Harriet Mellish said this collaboration highlighted AgriFutures Australia’s unwavering dedication to nurturing agrifood tech and innovation startups. 

“At AgriFutures Australia, we are committed to supporting the development and export of agritech and innovation, as well as supporting producers to access and adopt these technologies and innovations.

“Our advocacy for evokeAG. Pitch In The Paddock, in addition to our own programs, supports our ambitions, for these startups pitching, as well as the producers attending the event. 

“I’m thrilled to be part of the judging panel alongside Julia Spicer OAM, Robert Bell, Duncan Ferguson and Mark Allison.” 

Who are the 2024 evokeAG. Pitch In The Paddock finalists?

Get the elevator pitch from the eight finalists whose ideas and innovations are set to advance the agricultural industry:  

Headshot of Dr Andrew Leech

Dr Andrew Leech, Bovotica. Image | Beef Australia.

  1. Bovotica: Dr Andrew Leech | Bovotica is developing novel technology that precisely modulates the rumen microbiome of the bovine, delivering a reduction in methane emissions for the environment and an increase in production efficiency for the farmer. As a keen American barbecuer and cheesemaker, Dr Leech said safeguarding the beef and dairy industries in the face of climate change is not just his job, it’s his passion.

    Headshot of Joanne Barber

    Joanne Barber, Magic Meat Powder. Image | Beef Australia.

  2. Magic Meat Powder: Joanne Barber | Years of CSIRO-backed research has led to a process which converts low-value meat into a nutrient-dense and allergen-free ingredient – Magic Meat Powder – which can be added to any food product or sold as a supplement. Joanne is a seasoned executive, having worked across agriculture, aquaculture, and tourism. She prioritises aggregating the smartest people in the room to create the most impact for the world.

    Dr Bronwyn Darlington crouches in front of cattle

    Dr Bronwyn Darlington, Agscent. Image | Beef Australia.

  3. Agscent: Dr Bronwyn Darlington | Agscent pioneers’ breath-based livestock diagnostics— set to revolutionise methane measurement, pregnancy testing, and disease diagnostics with an affordable, cutting-edge nanotechnology platform. Bronwyn is a serial entrepreneur and inventor, and her experience is born from living and working on the family’s 5,000-acre cattle and sheep property.  

    Beau Skerrett

    Beau Skerrett, StockProtecta. Image | Beef Australia.

  4. StockProtecta: Beau Skerrett | StockProtecta is a versatile portable plastic panel developed to provide farmers with a simple tool to improve yard flow, minimise outside distractions and increase stock and operator safety. After record rainfall on his newly acquired property near Warwick, Queensland, Beau had to relocate cattle yards to a drier section of the property – an arduous task. So, the quest began; to develop a lightweight, easily deployable, and universally accessible portable visual barrier that safeguards livestock from injuries.

    Rob Kelly

    Rob Kelly, Agora Livestock. Image | Beef Australia.

  5. Agora Livestock: Rob Kelly | Agora Livestock is a digital stockbook for cattle buyers that captures critical purchase in a dashboard, giving a real time source of truth for livestock purchases and sales. Rob grew up on a livestock property in Western Australia, has an Ag Science degree to his name, and spent over a decade in grain trading and risk and supply chain management.

    Marie Ellul

    Marie Ellul, Art Lab Solutions. Image | Beef Australia.

  6. Art Lab Solutions: Marie EllulArt Lab Solutions has developed a non-invasive device that measures a foetal heart rate in 10 seconds at 30 days post fertilisation. The technology shrinks the time gap between economic decisions. Marie has over ten years of experience in hands-on embryology, has an educational foundation in Health Sciences, combined with an MBA, and serves as Chairperson to two non-for-profit organisations; one of which involves advising on relevant disease risks associated with reproductive technologies in livestock. 

    Luke Chaplain flying a drone

    Luke Chaplain, SkyKelpie.

  7. SkyKelpie: Luke Chaplain | SkyKelpie is the world leader in drone mustering and aerial stockmanship. It’s building a range of products and services that will help livestock handlers unlock the numerous benefits this technology has to offer. Founder and fourth-generation grazier from north-west Queensland, Luke is a leader in the agritech field thanks to his expertise in drone mustering. 

    Dr Phillip Zada

    Dr Phillip Zada, Stoktake. Image | Beef Australia.

  8. Stoktake: Dr Phillip Zada | Stoktake delivers a hyper-scalable cloud platform that uniquely uses its proprietary image recognition technology to identify livestock through a single photograph. Dr Phillip Zada is a distinguished technologist whose work exemplifies a unique blend of technological acumen and a deep understanding of agricultural challenges, driving forward a new era in livestock management. 

evokeAG. Pitch In The Paddock is an all-ages event and will run from 1-3pm on Wednesday, 8 May 2024 at the Rockhampton Showgrounds. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here. 

The AgriFutures evokeAG. and growAG. teams will be at Beef2024 from May 5-11. Don’t forget to pop by our exhibit and say hi. See you there! 


Tap into more discussions here about the role of agrifood tech in driving sustainability across supply chains, news from agritech startups and updates ahead of evokeAG. 2025 in Brisbane, Queensland.

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