The future for agriculture remains bright with forecasts of it becoming Australia’s next $100 billion industry by 2030, despite being tested by this unprecedented drought

NSW Nationals Minister for Innovation and Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said some of the best agricultural minds in the region had recently gathered to discuss agricultural technology and the future economy of the region at the Agtech and the Future Economy of Western NSW breakfast.

“As Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation I’m committed to supporting research and development and supporting new technologies,” Mr Anderson said.

“We’re in very difficult times with this drought and in adversity you find opportunity. This is where new ideas come to the fore and this is where we find people breaking new ground in terms of innovation.

“When most people think of innovation and technology they don’t often think about the bush, but with innovation the lives of those who live out here will be most improved.

“As the world’s population grows and the cost of food production increases, NSW’s growing AgTech sector is set to change the face of our farming habits and ways.

“I’m a firm believer in being able to fire off sky-rockets and come up with some brilliant ideas, but you’ve got make some of them land, they have to work and be practical.

“It’s important that whatever we design, whatever we build and implement, the key is how does it impact on our lives and communities?

“As the Minister for Safe Work, we’re doing that, we’re offering rebates on quad bikes and drones so farmers can see what is happening around them without putting themselves, their families or their staff at any form of risk.

“There are massive opportunities for agriculture in the future. A rising global middle-class is moving from a simple diet to one that demands agriculturally-intensive foods which we grow in large amounts here in our region.

“At the same time, demand for locally-grown, sustainable food is growing as more and more towns host farmers’ markets.

“This drought is a one-in-a-lifetime event that is really testing us, but eventually when it breaks we’ll be back in the serious business of growing great tasting, sustainable and wholesome foods for domestic and export consumption.

“In this state we’re blessed to have one of the three ‘top 100 life science universities’ in the world. Armidale’s UNE is one of these and it’s on our doorstep right at the forefront of global agricultural technology research.

“We have the technology developers now we have to increase the adoption rates so as the opportunity to increase productivity presents, we improve supply chain efficiency and take food production quality in NSW to beyond world class standards.”