THE Federal government is expanding the focus of the eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs across the country to "catalyse agricultural innovation, drive commercialisation and create jobs".
Under the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda, the hubs are located in regional areas that reflect the key agricultural and climatic zones across the country.
These areas include southern NSW, southern Queensland and Northern NSW, south-west WA, northern WA and the Northern Territory, Victoria, tropical north Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.
The Victorian hub, which is based at the University of Melbourne's Dookie campus, has nodes in the northwest, with the Birchip Cropping Group and at the Mallee Regional Innovation Centre.
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the Federal government was providing a further $20 million to "develop regionally focused and responsive innovation and adoption strategies". .
"This investment is the next phase in the evolution of the Drought Hubs from being just drought focused to being focused on innovation more broadly," Mr Littleproud said.
"These hubs are key to unlocking the potential of the agricultural innovation system, enabling people to collaborate and deliver regionally targeted productivity gains.
"The hubs will further build connections between researchers, technology developers, investors, producers and agribusinesses to drive innovation and digital technology uptake across industry and the supply chain.
"The hubs will always be a shopfront for farmers to access innovative technologies and practices that enable them to be more prepared and resilient to drought.
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"Now we are extending their remit into broader agricultural innovation activities and outcomes.
"Expanding the existing Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs beyond their current remit of drought resilience into broader agricultural innovation activities and outcomes is a key part of the agenda.
The additional support includes $20 million in additional funding for the Hubs to undertake "broader agricultural innovation activities" that will "lead to uptake of innovation by producers, stimulate collaboration and increase commercialisation".
The hubs themselves were established through the Future Drought Fund, which is "a long term sustained investment of $100 million each year to build drought preparedness and resilience" according to a statement by the government.
"The Hubs already provide an important physical platform for stakeholders from across the agricultural innovation system to come together and translate research and knowledge to make real impact on the ground," Mr Littleproud said.
"Now they can extend their plans beyond drought preparedness and bring additional stakeholders from the broader agricultural innovation system into that process.
"We will be working with the Hubs over the coming months to co-design and determine how they can expand to support the delivery of the priorities.
"We will continue to provide the right conditions and help the agricultural sector to modernise, improve, innovate and grow."
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