Key agricultural learnings from the USA
7 November 2023
Bowen Gumlu Growers Association have travelled back from the USA where they identified new opportunities around innovation, supply chain and diversification that could be adapted in the Greater Whitsunday region.
Bowen Gumlu Growers Association chief executive officer Ry Collins took part in the trip coordinated by Agrifutures Australia.
Mr Collins said the trip coincided with the inaugural Salinas Biological summit held by industry grower group, Western Growers.
“The summit highlighted innovation in Biological solutions as the next frontier of growth for the industry and investment to address future challenges in pest management, input utilization, yield and sustainability,” he said.
Some of the key learnings from the trip were, Agriculture’s role in future fuel, such as biofuels which, is gaining momentum with large energy companies like Chevron now investing in farms purely for biomass production.
Mr Collins said another takeaway was how California is leading the US movement away from synthetic inputs with significant new venture capital investment in biological technology.
“Ther is investment from the large traditional chemistry companies. Notably and contrastingly, California is still 10 years away from regulating nitrogen usage.
“The largest growers such as Driscoll’s are investing significantly in variety development and genetic modification to address pest, drought, shelf life and consumer preference issues”.
Mr Collins said there were discussions around food processing and how it is an important diversification opportunity for fresh produce.
Other value points included how communities are seeking to become more connected to their food, with growers, institutions and the public collaborating on social endeavours such as large-scale community gardens and regeneration of native food areas.
One of the highlights was visiting John Deere’s and Corteva’s headquarters.
Mr Collins said these businesses are making massive developments in computer-based decision making such as AI.
“Stronger advocacy and industry collaboration can influence government policy and investment decisions with the US farm bill and crop insurance scheme’s being an example where industry can have a stronger voice into how government money is spent,” Mr Collins said.
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