Farm Tender

Ag Tech Sunday - Artificial Intelligence Technologies in Ag

By Robbie Sefton - Managing Director, Seftons | Advocate for rural, regional and remote Australia | Strategic Advisor | Commentator | Board Member

 

WHEN it comes to implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in Australia, we can’t afford to make any dumb moves; especially resorting to complacency or navel gazing.

 

But if we’re smart and savvy and think strategically, to act on a bold vision, it’ll ensure we optimise future benefits of the AI revolution; especially making Australian farmers and agribusiness more efficient and profitable, to strengthen our regional communities.

 

That’s why I’m supporting a clever move designed to get ahead of the game and secure funding to launch and propel the Smarter Regions Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).

 

I’ve taken an exciting and important role on the Smarter Regions CRC’s interim board which is all about applying my professional experience and the acumen of others, to help guide its strategy and ensure sound governance.

 

Two other interim board members are working to achieve the same goals; Dr Catriona Wallace (recognised by the Australian Financial Review as one of the ‘Most Influential Woman in Business and Entrepreneurship’ and the founder and CEO of Ethical AI Advisory); and Diana Gibbs (the CRC’s inaugural Chair who has held numerous regional positions including Chair of Regional Development Australia Riverina).

 

We also have an interim CEO, Dr Paul Dalby, and interim Chief Scientist, Prof Javen Shi, to boost the bid’s expertise.

 

In June, the Smarter Regions CRC Bid Development Committee is due to submit our case to secure $50 million to establish this new, national research agency, under the Federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources’ CRC Program.

 

We also have website and released a new brochure detailing our case. https://smarterregionscrc.com.au/

 

Several strong and committed partners are also backing the bid, including more than 20 companies and 11 showcase regions, such as the NSW Riverina, comprising more than 50 regional organisations.

 

So why should Australian farmers and agribusiness be interested in supporting this initiative?

 

Because optimising the roll-out of AI technologies not only makes good sense, it also means well be on the smart money, to secure a better future.

 

A recent article on AI said researchers at the University of South Australia are already using artificial intelligence to monitor soil moisture.

https://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/7167597/mini-satellites-gene-mods-and-ai-govt-identifies-ag-tech-of-the-future/?cs=4704

 

Another one detailing the opportunities for EU farmers and their cooperatives said AI will give them, “a powerful tool to yield significant gains in terms of efficiency and productivity”.

https://www.futurefarming.com/Tools-data/Articles/2021/3/The-future-of-AI-in-the-EU-possibilities-and-challenges-716813E/

 

This not only tells us farmers and agribusinesses share great opportunities to boost business profitability and performance, but our competitors are also looking at this space with just as much interest and an eye on the future.

 

As a wise person once said, “the tragedy of life is not found in failure but complacency. Not in you doing too much, but doing too little. Not in you living above your means, but below your capacity. It’s not failure but aiming too low, that is life’s greatest tragedy”.

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