Riverine Plains inaugural Innovation Expo a resounding success
The Inaugural Riverine Plains Innovation Expo was held over three days last week, from the 27-29 July, 2022 and attended by over 700 people from across Australia.
The three-day event had a focus on bringing innovation to the region under the theme ‘Farming Ahead of the Curve’ and provided an opportunity for farmers and businesses to showcase new and emerging technologies, create connections, challenge the status quo and share insights.
Riverine Plains’ CEO Catherine Marriott said that agriculture as an industry has always chased opportunities to produce more with less, in a sustainable way, and this event was designed to help farmers capitalise on new technologies, research and ideas to help them continue to achieve prosperous and sustainable businesses.
“The event exceeded all our expectations – the quality of the exhibitors and speakers was incredible and the number of people from our region who engaged with and supported the event was mind-blowing” said Ms Marriott.
The event featured agronomy and animal-technology focused Farm Tours, an Innovation Field Day showcasing the latest in AgTech from across Australia, an Innovation Conference, as well as networking events and a Gala Dinner, which raised over $15,000 for the Riverine Plains’ Scholarship fund.
“It was a particular privilege to host the National Farmers Federation and Victorian Farmers Federation Towards 2030 Forum, where we bought the nation’s brightest policy minds to our region and gave our members an opportunity to engage directly with our elected leaders,” said Ms Marriott.
The Innovation Conference event hosted a plethora of brilliant speakers, including Mary O’Brien from ‘Are you Bogged Mate?’, brought to us by Seed Force. Mary presented an important message around men’s mental health; shockingly, seven people succeed at suicide daily in Australia, with a large proportion being rural men. Mary explained that this isn’t a problem with men, it’s a problem with the environment we create for them to resolve challenges.
“Mary also spoke of how important it is for us all to lean in and ask the difficult questions if we are worried about someone, as scary as it may seem, because it’s hugely important (so don’t wait for RUOK day),” added Ms Marriott.
Richard Heath, from the Australian Farm Institute, spoke on sustainability markets (carbon credits) and how they will impact people on farm. He was able to demystify the complexity that surrounds the carbon and environment, social and governance (ESG) space by clearly defining what is a fad, a trend and a principle. His key message for farmers was to start benchmarking your properties as pressure will commence from banks and insurance institutions before it starts to inevitably impact markets.
Decision making in farm businesses was the focus of a presentation by Cam Nicholson (Nicon Rural), who highlighted the difference between a good decision and a right decision (a good decision is informed, a right decision is one where you roll the dice and end up in the right spot). He described decision making as a skill that can be learned; it takes discipline, but it can be done. Key to Cam’s messaging was the importance of slowing down and understanding the metrics surrounding your decisions.
The Innovation Conference also provided a forum for John Hanrahan Scholarship recipients Lachlan Quibell, Sophie Hanna and Jess Ryan, as well as Uncle Tobys Scholarship recipient, Tom Hatty, to share their aspirations in agriculture and was a terrific showcase of their potential as future leaders in agriculture.
“We were thrilled that we had so many people engage with us over the course of the EXPO and that we were able to bring so many people to the region to explore together how farming businesses can grow and adapt through innovative ideas, products and services,” concluded Ms Marriott
Riverine Plains would also like to thank all our partners for their support and in particular; Seed Force, Upton Engineering, New Edge Microbials, AgriFutures Australia, the Grains Research and Development Corporation and Destination NSW.