Outstanding contributors and innovators in agriculture, fisheries and forestry have been recognised in the annual Queensland Agriculture Awards, announced at the AgFutures 2020 virtual forum in Brisbane.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Darling Downs farmer and former Queensland Farmers’ Federation President Stuart Armitage won the prestigious Peter Kenny Medal and Jerome Leray, who founded AgTech company InFarm, was named the Minister’s Emerging Leader Award winner.
“These awards identify and support leaders and innovators in primary industry and I congratulate Stuart and Jerome on their success against a strong field of nominees,” Mr Furner said.
“The Peter Kenny Medal is awarded for innovation leading to profitability and sustainability and the Minister’s Emerging Leader Award recognises professional excellence and leadership.
“Mr Kenny is remembered as a passionate advocate for agriculture, rural education and regional communities across Queensland, as well as being a champion for educating new generations of producers.”
Peter Kenny Medal other finalists
Fabien Carniel, Mulgowie Farming Company Frank Sciacca, Pacific Coast Eco Bananas Bree Grima, Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Rob McGavin, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Minister’s Emerging Leader Award other finalists
John McLaughlin, Northern Gulf Resource Management Group Molly O’Dea, Sugar Research Australia Limited Dr Elizabeth Worrall, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
AgFutures 2020 highlighted innovation in agriculture from investment in AgTech and automation to solutions for global issues like food sourcing and distribution.
“Coronavirus disruption means it’s more important than ever for agribusiness to adopt agricultural and other digital technology to transform operations, increase efficiencies and profitability,” Mr Furner said.
“The Palaszczuk Government recognises the importance of AgTech, allocating $5.5 million for digital transformation in agribusiness in a new $12.5 million COVID-19 economic recovery package for the agribusiness and food sector.
“A new dedicated online portal ‘AgTech – Growing your future’ now provides a single landing place for producers to connect with government and industry and explore AgTech opportunities for their business.
“Innovation opportunities like this one will continue to be vital as we implement Queensland’s $8 billion plan for economic recovery from COVID-19.’
The Minister said producers can hear first-hand from Queensland agribusinesses who took the AgTech journey, to learn about their successes and failures and find out how to get started themselves.
The web portal www.daf.qld.gov.au/AgTech showcases AgTech services offered in Queensland and provides agribusinesses with easy access to support resources.
The online content will grow over time to include information and resources for investors, researchers and start-ups.