AgForce and Central Queensland University (CQUniversity) have today heralded a new era of producer, education and industry engagement as they develop a roadmap to revitalise agricultural research and training infrastructure at Belmont Research Station in Central Queensland.
Speaking at Beef Australia 2021, AgForce General President Georgie Somerset and CQUniversity Vice Chancellor and President Nick Klomp agreed to take the partnership, established in 2014, to the next level by creating an expanded agricultural research and training ecosystem that connects producers, researchers and trainers.
The partnership currently brings together producer interests through the Maynard Cattle Company and connects high-school educators through the Rockhampton Grammar School and others.
“AgForce, CQUniversity and our partners have already established a strong legacy of research and development at Belmont Research Station,” Ms Somerset said.
“But we now want to see this expand through new alliances that allow us to design a research ecosystem centred at Belmont and connected to research and industry facilities across the region.
“Over the next three months AgForce and CQUniversity will be engaging with industry stakeholders to design the expanded research and training partnership, with a view to presenting an infrastructure revitalisation plan to government and industry for their support.
“We’re looking for organisations that want to be at the coal face applying their expertise to help solve the challenges and opportunities facing agriculture,” Ms Somerset said.
CQUniversity Vice Chancellor Nick Klomp said ‘Belmont Station’ had been the premier research station for the northern Australian beef industry for more than 60 years but with agriculture in 2021 operating in a dramatically different landscape the time was right to develop a plan to revitalise the infrastructure at Belmont and connect it to the broader needs of industry.
“The planning process will include improved connections to researchers and facilities from related domains, including resource economics, land and water management, and extension,” Professor Klomp said.
“Belmont’s future should closely complement the research facilities nearby at CQUni’s CQ Innovation Research Precinct (CQIRP) in Rockhampton, and should facilitate interactions with the likes of Queensland’s Rural Economies Centre of Excellence.
“We will develop a detailed plan that outlines the infrastructure needed to support a range of innovative research and training activities, as well as bringing together the right people and resources to deliver on that ambition.
“We want to return Belmont Research Station to its glory days, but with the latest technologies and practices on display.”