New 10-year agricultural science strategic plan big on innovation and technology
Launching the Australian Academy of Science’s Decadal Plan for Australian Agricultural Sciences 2017–26 in June 2017, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, said the plan provided a sound rationale for directing future national investment in ag-related science and innovation.
“Embracing new ideas in innovation, science and research will drive the next age of agricultural prosperity in this country,” Minister Hartsuyker said. “From innovation in genomics, technology and big data, to chemistry, climate and metabolic engineering, this plan identifies the huge opportunities open to Australian agriculture over the coming decade.
“It is a plan that complements an ever-increasing focus on the ways that cross-disciplinary research in all areas of the economy comes to bear on the future of rural and regional Australia.
“In short, this plan informs the development of the Australian Government’s continued investment in the science, innovation and R&D – an investment that will be vital to the future success of all of our agricultural industries.”
According to Minister Hartsuyker, the federal government invests around $700 million annually in rural R&D – much of it in productivity-boosting precision technology and genomics.
“Technology and innovation has increased the productivity of Australian agriculture in a number of ways, including new crop varieties, selective animal breeding and precision agriculture techniques,” Minister Hartsuyker said.
“That is why the Australian Government developed new rural research, development and extension priorities as part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.
“The priorities are all key drivers of increased productivity in agriculture, fisheries and forestry,” he said.
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Grow. Make. Prosper: Decadal Plan priorities
The Decadal plan, surtitled ‘Grow. Make. Prosper’, outlines strategies “to improve the strength and efficiency of agricultural research in Australia in ways that increase the ability of governments and producers to maintain productivity and efficiency in the face of evolving natural challenges [and] ... capitalise on emerging technologies that will affect the agricultural sciences”.
The plan, developed after extensive consultation with researchers and organisations by the National Committee for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (NCAFF), prioritises four areas for ag-related R&D over the next 10 years:
soil, water and management of natural resources; and
adoption of research outcomes.
“These priorities are entirely consistent with those identified in the Decadal Plan for Australian Agricultural Sciences,” Minister Hartsuker said.
“Together, we are working towards a more profitable, more resilient and more sustainable agriculture sector.”
The Decadal Plan for Australian Agricultural Sciences 2017-26 was funded by an Australian Government grant of $474,000 and developed over 2014-15 under the Linkage Learned Academies Special Projects scheme, administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC).