A team of specialised agtech robot designers and builders will be recruited in Central Queensland thanks to grant funding from the Palaszczuk Government.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said SwarmFarm was one of 15 businesses in Queensland to receive a Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant to help fund the expansion of their business and create job growth in regional areas.
“SwarmFarm, one of the world’s leading agricultural robotics companies, is positioned as the conduit for delivery of agtech to farming customers, helping them reduce chemical use, energy consumption and environmental impact,” Mr Furner said.
“With a $250,000 grant, an estimated 15 full-time jobs will be created during the implementation phase of the project, particularly trades such as builders, carpenters, plumbers, painters, electricians and tilers.”
Plans are in place to construct a purpose-built office facility to serve as the SwarmFarm headquarters at Gindie.
After several years of research, development and product prototyping, SwarmFarm has moved to full production of robotic agricultural equipment through a team of agricultural, mechatronics, software and mechanical engineers.
SwarmFarm Chief Financial Officer Jocie Bate said staff needed dedicated space and equipment to support state of the art communication and information technology infrastructure.
“Showcasing agriculture, agtech and serving as an inspiration for future industry participants is vitally important to both the farming community and the nation and a core component of the SwarmFarm values,” Ms Bate said.
“SwarmFarm is all about autonomous application of precision agriculture increasing yields while reducing chemical use, energy consumption and environmental impact. Most importantly, SwarmFarm’s technology allows farmers to implement a step change that removes constraints and delivers fundamentally superior farming businesses.
“The robots will have direct benefit to primary production in terms of delivering new farming practices that lead to higher efficiencies, increased yields and better environmental stewardship.”
The Rural Economic Development Grants program offers emerging projects up to $250,000 in co-contributions to build industry and grow employment opportunities across the agricultural sector. The $10 million grants program provides for three funding rounds over a three-year period ending 2021.
A total of 15 businesses have received $3.3 million under the first-round of funding for the RED Grants program. Overall these 15 projects are expected to create over 600 jobs across the agricultural sector in regional Queensland.
Funding for Round 2 of the RED Grants will be announced later this year.
The recent State Budget locked in funding for the remaining rounds of the program, taking the total amount of grants available up to $10 million.
“This program represents the Palaszczuk Government investing in regional jobs now and for the future,” Mr Furner said.
“By supporting regional businesses today we are helping them expand and growing our economy for the future.”
The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administer the RED Grant scheme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.