evokeAG. goes bi-coastal. Two events will take place in 2022 – Perth and Sydney

evokeAG. goes bi-coastal. Two events will take place in 2022 – Perth and Sydney

AgriFutures Australia today officially announced details of their revised programme for evokeAG 2022. With the ongoing global pandemic and borders remaining closed, the decision has been made to host two one-day events; in Perth & in Sydney.

It’s great to be able to finally to share this news. I have once again been invited to be part of the evokeAG steering committee and my visit to Australia next month includes a detailed session with John Harvey and the evokeAG team at AgriFutures. Building a programme that contains a strong trans-Tasman element remains our strong joint ambition.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll simply copy and paste some of the content from today’s formal announcement. As the programme develops over the coming weeks, particularly with a New Zealand focus, expect more updates via this blog.

‘In a response to continued uncertainty with interstate and international travel, evokeAG. is going bi-coastal in 2022, taking the region’s premier agrifood innovation event to both Perth, WA and Sydney, NSW.

After two successful events in 2019 and 2020, evokeAG. will once again bring the agrifood community together – including farmers, corporates, agribusiness, researchers, startups, scale-ups, investors and government – to look at what’s next in farming technology and food innovation.

John Harvey, Managing Director of AgriFutures Australia, says that committing to host two events in 2022 is critical to supporting farmers, by driving innovation. While it has been great to connect with global stakeholders digitally over the past year, it is hard to replace in-person conversations and the energy created by bringing like-minded individuals into the same room.

“We have seen so much growth across agritech and food innovation, not just in the last 12-months but really the last three-years, with Australian and New Zealand innovators attracting increased investment and global demand each year,” said Mr Harvey.

As local and global agrifood innovation continues to mature, and grow increasingly collaborative, delivering these world-class technologies back to farmers and growers is critical.

“Working with farmers to increase profit and adopt sustainable practices is critical, connecting agrifood innovators with farmers is the key,” Mr Harvey continues, “there are a lot of great initiatives that support this, including evokeAG.

The evokeAG. events will take place in Perth and Sydney in 2022, making it easier for people to access one of the events, regardless of border restrictions’.

Announcing the 2035 Oceania Agri-Food-Tech Climate Summit

Announcing the 2035 Oceania Agri-Food-Tech Climate Summit

It was with incredible pleasure (and some relief) that I was able to announce at National Fieldays this morning the hosting of the 2035 Oceania Summit in April 2022.

Good things take time and this Summit is a great example of that. Ever since we announced earlier in the year that Wharf42 would be co-hosting the AgriFoodTech Climate Summit at COP26 in Glasgow, plans have been underway to create the first global regional follow-up event.

In Australia, the Climate Targets Panel says that Australia should be aiming to reach net zero emissions as early as 2035. In New Zealand, the Climate Change Commission has submitted to government its recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Across wider Oceania, climate change has had, and will continue to have, profound ramifications for the people living in the region.

The Summit will feature regional and international keynote speakers, breakout panels with domain experts, an exhibition showcasing current research being undertaken across the region, a startup hub with a pitch event to global investors, as well as extensive networking opportunities.

We have been privileged to work with the International Business Events team at Tourism New Zealand and the fabulous folk at Auckland Unlimited to help make this happen. Today’s announcement is the culmination of many months work and builds on the significant and emerging research and development opportunities being created across the entire trans-Tasman and wider Oceania agrifood ecosystem.

Next month, Jacqui and I will be spending time across the ditch speaking to partners and friends in New South Wales, ACT & South Australia. Over the past two years, we have successfully established strong relationships with many agrifood organisations in Australia and we are looking forward at inviting them to actively engage and participate at the 2035 Oceania Summit.

By bringing together researchers, startups, investors, policy makers as well as farmers and growers, the 2035 Oceania Summit has been designed to showcase local solutions that will create global impact.

To learn more about the Summit and to register your interest in learning more, please visit the Summit website at www.2035.ag

We look forward to working with you to help our country and our region make a real difference.


Wharf42 at National Fieldays 2021

Wharf42 at National Fieldays 2021

With just one week to go, it’s great to be preparing to attend a 120,000 in-person event! To our followers outside New Zealand, this is the expected attendance at the 4-day National Fieldays 2021 event at Mystery Creek in 7 days time.

Fieldays is the largest agricultural event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It presents New Zealand’s agricultural and primary sectors with an international marketplace to advance agriculture, while honouring its three pillars – innovation, education, globalisation.

The one thing sadly missing this year of course will be the traditional delegations of international attendees. COVID and strict border controls mean that few folk will be traveling to Mystery Creek from overseas, bar a few welcome guests from across the Tasman. It’s therefore a particular honour this year to be directly involved in one of the truly ‘global’ sessions taking place next week.

On Thursday morning, I’ll be joining Laura Clarke, the UK High Commissioner to New Zealand, and a group of international panellists, to talk about Climate, CO26 and the role of Agritech. As co-host of the AgriFoodTech Climate Summit at COP26 in November, this promises to be an interesting session. It will provide a platform to talk about the scheduled event and also provide the opportunity to announce something much closer to home.

Climate, Agritech and Cleantech are three words I expect to hear a lot of next week. With the Climate Change Commission’s final report being published by the government today, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production and the wider agrifood supply chain will become high priorities for farmers and growers alike. Regulation can only do so much. What farmers and growers need is the technology and the tools necessary to enable them to meet new targets.

That will be the key theme of my presentation next Thursday. The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is completely understood. So is the investment into accelerating our research capability to make this happen.

You can view the BOMA Agri Summit ‘Australian Agritech Ecosystem’ virtual event below

You can view the BOMA Agri Summit ‘Australian Agritech Ecosystem’ virtual event below

Last week, I hosted the ‘Australian Agritech Ecosystem’ virtual event at e Tipu 2021 – The BOMA Agri Summit. I was joined by;

  • Andrew Coppin, Chair, Australian Agritech Association
  • John Harvey, Managing Director, AgriFutures Australia
  • Dr Penny Schultz, Chair, SA Cattle Industry Fund Board; immediate past vice president, Livestock SA
  • Professor Bob Furbank, Director, ANU ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis

It was great to have a panel that represented four distinct Australian stakeholder groups; industry, government, producers & research. We talked about the current Australian agritech landscape and what opportunities might exist for real and impactful trans-Tasman agritech collaboration.

Building a collaborative trans-Tasman agritech ecosystem is important for both New Zealand and Australia. Over the years, I have actively supported such a move through my work with the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council, AgriFutures Australia’s evokeAG & growAG steering committees and more recently, the Australian Agritech Association. As the founding Executive Director of Agritech New Zealand, I have been able to share some of the lessons and challenges that building an inclusive ecosystem can bring.

You can view last week’s online presentation below:

The AdvanceAg Conference in Adelaide, 23 July

The AdvanceAg Conference in Adelaide, 23 July

I was delighted to receive an invitation from the Hon David Basham, the South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, to keynote at the upcoming AdvanceAg Conference in Adelaide. You can learn more about the conference here.

Back in October 2020, the Government of South Australia released the ‘South Australia AgTech Strategic Plan’. It’s a significant piece of work and a number of its recommendations resonated. I recognised that it had brought together different stakeholders including producers, government, research, industry and startups. The AdvanceAg conference is an important part of this Plan.

It’s interesting to see how the landscape in Australia (Federal v States) is taking shape. From an agritech rather than agricultural production perspective, the states seem to be accelerating activity and planning in this space. Much of the Federal focus appears to be on the performance of the Research & Development Corporations (RDCs). GrowAG (I sat on its Establishment Steering Committee) is one manifestation of that focus. As many of us know however, innovation and technology advancement is not only to be found in the publicly-funded research domain. Building a cohort of agritech businesses capable of scaling and creating impact is very often a private sector endeavour. Those businesses require the ongoing support of the wider agritech ecosystem – agribusinesses, government, investors, incubators, accelerators, as well as research. It’s building that broader ‘coalition of the willing’ that I recognised in South Australia’s AgTech Strategic Plan.

For anyone familiar with my work in New Zealand over the past 6 years, building collaborative agritech frameworks and partnerships has been a key focus. Today, that model has taken on a global lens. The Government of South Australia recognises the advances made in New Zealand and my quest is to identify opportunities for increased collaboration between the two respective sectors.

Reaching out to the wider Australian Agritech Ecosystem

Given that this will be my first trip across the Tasman since the bubble re-opened, I plan to spend 3 weeks in Australia visiting folk in Sydney, Canberra, Wagga Wagga (home to both AgriFutures Australia and the Bridge Hub) as well as Adelaide. I’m grateful for the introductions being made to different agritech players in these centres by both AgriFutures and the team at the Australian Agritech Association. The trans-Tasman partnership is working!

Back to Adelaide. Over 300 delegates are expected to attend the AdvanceAg conference. I plan to spend a few additional days in the state, meeting different stakeholders in a rapidly emerging and engaged agritech hub. From a personal perspective, I look forward to meeting the Minister and his team at the Ministry for Primary Industries and Regional Development.

It will help create yet another significant channel for increased trans-Tasman engagement and one that will hopefully benefit agritech communities on both sides of the ditch. It’s time to put that passport to good use!