$2.5 million to support agricultural innovation

Agricultural innovation in Victoria has received a significant boost with the Commonwealth Government announcing $2.5 million of additional funding for the Victorian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, led by the University of Melbourne.

The Victorian Hub, which is led by the University of Melbourne, is based at the University’s Dookie Campus in Northern Victoria and has five nodes throughout regional Victoria.

Professor John Fazakerley, Dean of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne, welcomed the additional investment in agriculture and regional Victoria.

“I want to thank the Australian Government for this investment, it will allow the Victoria Drought Hub, with its existing strong collaborations and expertise, to expand its activities to more broadly support agricultural innovation,” he said.

“Innovation is vital to the future of agriculture, and the Victoria Drought Hub is perfectly positioned across farming groups, communities, industry and academic training, research and innovation to develop and deliver solutions to our farmers and supply chains.”

Hub Co-Director, Professor Ruth Nettle, from the Rural Innovation Group at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences says that this investment will enhance the work already being undertaken across Victoria.

“Since its inception in April, the Victoria Drought Hub has brought together farming groups, communities, the State Government and universities in strong collaborative relationships, and has been making strong progress in developing ways to support farmers and communities to be better prepared for drought when it inevitably hits,” she said.

“This new funding will allow us to focus even more on innovative solutions to allow our local agricultural industry to thrive in a changing climate, and in an increasingly competitive global agricultural marketplace.”

Co-Director Professor Timothy Reeves, from the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, who is based at the University’s Dookie Campus, is excited that much of this work will support innovation in the regions where agricultural and food production is the mainstay of many industries and communities.

“Our partners around Victoria have first-hand knowledge of innovation needs and have connections in the community to facilitate lasting progress towards a sustainable, resilient and profitable future for our agriculture sector.”

“With nodes covering Gippsland, the South-West, the North-West, the North-East and the North-West Irrigated Horticulture regions, the Hub is embedded in every part of Victoria.”

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud and Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum announced the funding, indicating the hubs were the key to unlocking the potential of the agricultural innovation system.

“The hubs will build connections between researchers, technology developers, investors, producers and agribusinesses to drive innovation and digital technology uptake across industry and the supply-chain,” Minister Littleproud said.

The Victorian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub is a partnership between the University of Melbourne, Deakin University, Federation University, La Trobe University, Agriculture Victoria and five industry and farming groups – Birchip Cropping Group, Food & Fibre Gippsland, Southern Farming Systems, Riverine Plains and the Mallee Regional Innovation Centre and is supported by funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.

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