AgriFutures Australia has launched its new Producer Technology Uptake Programme to increase producer confidence, know-how and ambition to adopt technology.
The national pilot programme will run over 12 months in partnership with established producer groups servicing farmers, fishers and foresters.
Eligible groups can apply for grants of up to A$20,000 (US$15,000) to deliver a bespoke technology uptake programme which will include a producer workshop, as well as other activities, to introduce technology solutions and kick start technology adoption across their member base.
These programmes are designed to overcome known barriers to adoption, including digital literacy, lack of understanding on the potential return on investment, and overall appetite for technology.
Jennifer Medway, senior manager, rural futures of AgriFutures Australia, said this new programme will give producers a practical pathway to evaluate the role and value of new technology in their farming operations.
“Working with producer groups who can tailor opportunities to best meet the needs of local producers makes perfect sense. Eligible activities could be anything from trialing new technologies in the local environment, getting out on-farm or at sea to test new equipment, or seeking the knowledge of experts to assess the return on investment and demystify how to use particular technologies,” said Medway.
“Technology is increasingly part of the future of farm, fish and forestry businesses and we need to ensure those with an interest in technology can easily navigate the adoption journey.”
Medway said producers would walk away from the workshops with a personalised farm technology plan, including relevant solutions to their farming system and importantly, steps to implementation.
“Few producers identify themselves as ‘technology adopters’, yet they may be using GPS-guided tractors, smart phones to engage in livestock markets, or sensors and other tools to track and measure paddock performance and own sophisticated farm-management software,” Medway said.
“Tech solutions can optimise the use of inputs, speed up decision making, create labour savings and improve market access, there are big benefits to be gained for farm businesses. It’s an exciting time for Australian agriculture and we want producer groups to be at the forefront of the adoption journey, supporting their members to unlock technology potential in their farming operation.”