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From reengineered soil to mustering drones: What’s on the innovation wish list for Western Australia’s complex agrifood challenges

With so much capacity, creativity, and conviction in Australia’s agritech ecosystem, our primary industries are turning to forums like AgriFutures evokeAG. to connect problems with problem solvers. Here, Western Australia’s (WA) Primary Industries Development Chief Scientist, Dr Ben Biddulph, asks WA’s broadacre, pastoral, and horticulture sectors to outline the big challenges impacting their industry – and their wish list for the next generation of agritech innovations.

Great power, great responsibility; channelling artificial intelligence for agriculture

The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution has taken the world by storm, and the Australian agrifood sector is no exception. As we witness the emergence of innovative products like ChatGPT, Claude, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion, it's clear that the past 50 years of computer science investment have culminated in a plethora of AI-driven solutions. Andrew Skinner, Director of digital and data systems consultancy firm, More Than Machines, reflects on all things AI and why Australian agriculture is punching above its weight.

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14 May 2024

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Cellular ag pioneer, Vow, makes history as the first Australian company to launch a cultured meat product

The self-described ‘spaceship of the cultured meat industry,’ Australia’s Vow has become only the third company in the world to bring a cell-based meat product to market. Its cultured quail has received the green light from Singapore’s food regulator, whetting the appetite of the world’s culinary elite.
Vow Founder and CEO George Peppou explains how the company based in Alexandria, New South Wales, went from founding to first sales in just five years – an unrivalled achievement in a segment where many spaceships crash back to earth.

Insights
21 Apr 2024

More than a marketing ploy: Why Macka’s carbon neutral cattle sale is a win for Australia’s red meat industry

Just another cattle sale? Far from it. Beef producer, Robert Mackenzie has hosted Australia’s first carbon neutral cattle sale. Not just a marketing ploy for his family’s paddock-to-plate enterprise, Macka’s Australian Black Angus, Robert called the sale the beef industry’s ‘proof of concept’ – evidence it is working towards its Carbon Neutral 2030 target.

Insights
19 Apr 2024

Nina Schick on mind-bending AI: a catalyst for a new food future

Are the robots coming for us? Or is artificial intelligence a new ally on the path to a sustainable food future? Here, global expert in responsible generative AI, Nina Schick, demystifies artificial intelligence – and explains why food producers should embrace this kind of scary, but really cool technology to unlock the food system transformation we need to see.

Five surprising similarities between agriculture and mining

Australia's economic landscape has long been characterised by two formidable pillars: mining and agriculture. These industries, while distinct in operation and sometimes at odds politically, share a tapestry of challenges, knowledge, and opportunities. Could the surprising interconnectedness of mining and agriculture pave the way for collaborative solutions to shared challenges? As Australia embarks on a journey towards sustainable economic development, harnessing the collective wisdom of these industries will be instrumental in realising our shared bounty.
Rebecca Tomkinson, CEO, Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia explores five key factors of this symbiotic relationship.

Sober, yet hopeful reflections on agrifood tech funding for 2024 and beyond

What do you get when you have leading international agrifood tech venture capitalists (VCs) and top tier private equity investors on a panel? A lot of predictions about the future, of course. But this year a panel at evokeAG. 2024 also spoke openly about their reflections and the stark reality - a downturn in investment, coupled with geopolitical relations and inflation brings further financial headwinds. However, it’s certainly not all bad news. While entrepreneurs don’t have as much money to access from VCs, the overall agrifood tech ecosystem is maturing, with a broader awareness of the sector. 

Five truths we need to spur Australia’s agrifood producers into faster action on carbon

Carbon is the currency of modern agriculture, so it’s no surprise that attendees at AgriFutures evokeAG. 2024 were keen to know how Australia’s ag sector can overcome its stubbornly slow adoption of low-carbon solutions. As we hurtle towards 2030 (D-Day for most decarbonisation pledges both in Australia and internationally) market and regulatory pressures to reduce GHG emissions are bearing down upon the agrifood supply chain. Despite the urgency to respond, Australian producers aren’t yet flocking to low carbon production.

Here, top academics, early adopters, and sustainable livestock feed innovators share their truths on why adoption is lagging, and how we can drive faster progress.

Five unconventional (but necessary) ways to view the global sustainability challenge through a social lens

Youth climate rallies, rising costs of living, food insecurity and farmers taking tractors to the streets in protest. To solve the world’s environmental problems Dr Lewis Akenji, Managing Director of the Hot or Cool Institute, says we need to tackle social tensions first – and that means addressing food systems sustainability with a five-step approach for a future-fit agrifood culture.

Lobsters, artisan cheese and ‘exploding ingredients’: How these food innovators are pivoting to be price-makers not price takers

The price of fresh food and how the profits are shared along the supply chain from producer to check-out is under scrutiny, in both parliamentary and ACCC inquiries, in the media, and around the dinner table.
But how can fresh food producers pivot business models to get better outcomes? And what role does technology play in unlocking opportunities throughout the supply chain?

Five agrifood innovators share how they score a premium

We often hear about the “cutting edge” or the most advanced technology or product but what about something that’s so radical and un-tested that it’s at the “bleeding edge”?
That kind of innovation can fill a gap in the market and deliver significant premiums but comes with risk.
A diverse group from the agrifood supply chain, both in Australian and export markets, share their insight in developing something new and finding a market willing to pay for it.

Cultural IP meets capitalism: How do we ensure Indigenous innovators share the benefit?

Indigenous people have lived in Australia and interacted with country for millennia. And over this period, they’ve developed knowledge systems which have been nurtured and passed down through generations. The Western world knows such knowledge systems as intellectual property (IP). But when Indigenous cultural IP and Western business models converge, how do we ensure shared benefit?
Here, Indigenous entrepreneurs and business leaders discuss the opportunities, risks – and tremendous importance – of sharing cultural knowledge with a modern world.

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Contributors

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Neil Varcoe

Neil Varcoe

Writer, journalist and accidental farmer

Sydney, New South Wales

Oli Madgett

Oli Madgett

Managing Director, Perennial Australia

McLaren Vale, South Australia

Judy Kennedy

Judy Kennedy

Journalist | Judy Kennedy Media

Menzies Creek, VIC

Andy Lowe

Andy Lowe

The University of Adelaide

Adelaide, South Australia

Image of Anna Maskus

Anna Maskus

Communications Coordinator

AgriFutures Australia

Headshot of Emily Malone

Emily Malone

Regional and rural journalist and communications professional

Wagga Wagga, New South Wales

Image of Jenny Gilber

Jenny Gilbert

Rural communications specialist

Brisbane, Queensland