Feb 22, 2018 Last Updated 9:32 AM, Feb 21, 2018

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Western Australia plans to double agriculture production

AusBN – Western Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Food has announced that it plans to double agriculture production by 2025 despite recent cuts in its budget.

The budget has been cut by A$6.2 million from the last financial year and more than 100 full-time staff are expected to lose their jobs.

Last week the department held a briefing to discuss how the cuts will affect its work.

Rob Delane, director general of Western Australia's Agriculture and Food Department, said: "We have a strategic plan it's been available for well over a year; Agrifood 2025 Plus, which was worked up in close partnership with industry and has a clear aspiration goal of doubling the value of the agricultural and food sector.

"People need to remember that we work in support of an agricultural and food sector that with some further decent rain this year could be worth $8 billion at the farm gate.

"That's not value-added, that's not the additional value that's created in the supply chains, it's not the export and wholesale value which is substantially more than that, but that number is already very big and my total department's budget is just over $200 million.

"It is a small part of the agriculture and food sector, but an incredibly catalytic and valued part so it's really important that everyone understands that we work very closely with industry, that we can add a lot of value and that there is a lot of opportunity here.

"We are doing further work at the moment here which we believe will confirm our aspiration that the value of the WA agriculture and food sector can double and it can double by 2025 or not much beyond that.

"That's absolutely what's driving us, there are a lot of jobs, a lot more business success in that and we remain very aspirational about it."


AgForce introduces farming education

AusBN – AgForce has partnered with a local science club to educate children about the science behind farming.

Over a period of five-weeks the children learnt about topics including soil science, cotton research, growing mushrooms and beef production.

The lessons took place at the Central Highlands Science centre.

Australian Beef Industry Foundation board director Bronwyn Roberts spoke at one of the classes.

She said: "It's never too early to try and attract them, but I'd say we've probably got some budding scientists here."

Lisa Caffery, chairperson of the Central Highlands Science Centre, added: "Next year we will change it up, we'll have five different topics.

"Living in a rural and regional location it is mad that we don't know more about agricultural science, so why wouldn't we include it?

"It's fun, it's hands on, it's practical and the kids get to learn something they don't learn at school.

"This is the way of making children excited about science." 


Australia invests in agriculture technology

AusBN – Australia has announced that it will invest A$1.5-million into a project to provide farmers with advice on how to reduce costs and improve production.

The project will aim to provide information and advice on ways to use soil to improve production in their cropping paddocks and pastures.

An interactive system will be developed to give farmers real-time information about their farms, which will help them identify the crop varieties with the best returns.

Australia’s agriculture minister said: “Agriculture plays a critical role in building our nation’s wealth today and tomorrow—and soil management plays a critical role in building agriculture.  

“This project will build on our previous investments in soil, including the SoilMapp iPad app, along with the work of CSIRO and others on agricultural models and satellite data for farmers’ use.” 


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