Nancy Schellhorn was the guest speaker at the Rural Press Club breakfast, which coincided with Hort Connect 2021. She spoke about the challenges with the internet of things and how Australia needs to start seeing AgTech as the main act rather than a supporting player.
Global demand for AgTech is expected to increase by 8 percent each year. Australia has the potential and means to be a leader in this space and set the stage for others to follow.
“We have to use language that sets us up to be makers, not takers, of technology, we have to be leaders that use language about creating, developing, and implementing solutions.
We know the challenges of agriculture, we know what it means to try to get labour, we know what it means to use our natural resources coming into production, and how challenging that can be.”
When asked about government backing and support she mentioned that she realised governments need to be “cautious and careful” with who they align with. “At the same time, cautious and careful will never allow us to be leaders, and as an example, we had a contract from New Zealand before we had a contract from our own government.
Leadership means we want to be makers of something. We want to be on the front foot. We do not want to wait and see what everybody else does.”
Nancy went on to say “Today we can save the government 35 percent of how they do surveillance for fruit fly. If there is an outbreak, we demonstrated we can save them at least 60 percent because of the quick-time nature of the data… it’s very targeted.”