CQUniversity Australia

Agriculture's role in Australia's digital economic future 

Media Contact: Michelle Gapes, 0467 776 088 or

The Regional Universities Network, of which CQUniversity is a member, is holding the inaugural Digital Rural Futures Conference at the University of New England in Armidale from June 26 - 28.

The Conference will exchange ideas and case studies and explore the opportunities and challenges for agriculture in Australia's digital economic future.

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A national broadband infrastructure offers enormous opportunities for Australia's agricultural sector.  It will enable new ways to improve farm productivity through smart on-farm technologies, access a greater range of information and services, help create new market opportunities for our agricultural products and expertise, and improve the quality of life for rural Australians.

In turn, connected smart farms, and their supporting industries will play a significant role in Australia's digital economic future.  Smart farms will create a new generation of smart services, that will create new jobs and economic opportunities to support the future growth of rural Australia.

The Conference will explore key themes focusing on technology and the advancement of agriculture as an important member of Australia's digital economic future:

Smart technology and systems on the farm will explore new ways to improve farm management through the appropriate use of i sensors and sensor networks, immersive and sentinel vision and communication technologies, far-end control and autonomous systems (including UAVs and robotics) for environment and agricultural production

Better use and sharing of information will explore new approaches to improving access to and sharing of information for better decision making in the agricultural and natural resource sectors. This includes the use of  cloud-based services, data sharing systems, crowd sourcing and citizen science, and remote surveys.

New smart services for the rural sector will explore how new digital services will provide better decision-support and advisory services for farmers such as remote veterinary and agronomy expertise, open up new market opportunities to reach new consumers and value-add to agriculture output, as well as allow rural Australian improved access better health, education and social services.

Smart Farms, Education, Extension and Outreach will focus on how online learning and education will ensure rural Australia has access to the necessary skillset to take advantage of technology, the role of next generation teleworking and the role social media can play in staying connected with the world.

The Regional Universities Network is encouraging participation from farmers and farmer groups, business leaders, rural advisory services, regional councils and development groups, government agencies and researchers/academics in the higher education sector.

Information on the conference and registration details are at www.une.edu.au/smart.