The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) has been proudly helping to develop ethical and courageous…
Drought resilience commercialisation program
Australia is a step closer to being a global leader in drought resilience innovation. Beanstalk AgTech has teamed up with the Federal Government to unveil the nation’s inaugural drought resilience commercialisation program, Drought Venture Studio.
With a $10 million funding from the government’s Future Drought Fund, the Drought Venture Studio aims to develop drought resilience products and services for farmers, while delivering commercial returns for farms, innovators and agrifood investors.
Drought Venture Studio will work closely with farmers and agribusinesses to focus on the most pressing challenges. It will also play a hands-on role connecting farmers with innovators and early stage agrifood startup investors.
Beanstalk AgTech director Cal Archibald says Australia has the potential to become a global frontrunner in innovations for drought resilience.
“We’re leading the world with research and science, so the collaboration is about translating the knowledge we’re developing and turning them this knowledge into startups that can scale around Australia and internationally,” Mr Archibald says.
“Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, yet we have a vibrant agricultural sector that has constantly adapted to climate change challenges over time.
Necessity has made us amazing innovators. We want to capitalise on this knowledge and expertise to deliver real-world outcomes for our farmers, and commercial returns for those along the agri-innovation value chain.”Cal Archibald, Beanstalk AgTech director
Over the course of the initiative, the Drought Venture Studio will take eight start-ups to market and provide hands-on commercialisation support for nearly 100 other innovators.
“We’re going quite broad in looking at different solutions and assessing them for commercial viability. Then, we’ll double down on the top eight and give them significant resources to take them to market.”
“We’re very keen to see what those eight companies will be working on; they might be focusing on improved weather prediction or soil moisture retention or something very unique to Australian farms – so it’s a very exciting time ahead.”
Mr Archibald is confident Australia could lead the world in the space of drought resilience innovation.
“We are really hoping to fly the flag for drought solutions. The fact we’ve spent all these years trying to grow crops on the world’s driest inhabited continent says it all. It’s a great chance to put Australia on the map for commercialising solutions in the drought space. Imagine if we could perfectly predict the micro-climate of each paddock or utilise winter rain in the summer months or even increase our soil water holding capacity tenfold,” Mr Archibald says.
Beanstalk AgTech is calling on Australian farmers, innovators, agribusiness and scientists with new and exciting ideas to drought-proof Australian agriculture to put their ideas forward.
“We’re looking for large corporate agribusiness and farmer businesses to engage with us. We want to understand what are the most significant challenges when it comes to drought. We want to partner with the industry as R & D partners to help trial some of the solutions.
But, most importantly, we also want feedback so we can make sure we’re fully in collaboration with the end users. So it’s really time for farmers and agri-business to be partners on this fantastic initiative – particularly in NSW.Cal Archibald, Beanstalk AgTech director
“No-one has really been thinking about drought lately because NSW has had quite a lot of rain, but our message is this; you only have to go back a couple of years when NSW was in drought.
“I also feel the recent rain is another sign of the significant climate risk farmers across NSW are facing, so we’re hoping to develop some solutions that will help protect from the next drought. We need to be thinking about those issues now, rather than when we’re in the middle of drought.”
Perhaps you’re a scientist working on new technology to better capture and store water on farms, or an investor that wants to back local farmers and local innovations – if you have a drought related challenge that needs solving or a drought-resilience solution, Beanstalk AgTech wants to hear from you.
“There is no time to waste. The time to start planning for the next drought is now, that’s why this work is so important. We’re looking forward to getting on with it.”
Beanstalk Drought Venture Studio is currently hiring for key roles and will open expressions of interest to innovators from March 2024.
If you’d like more information or if you have an Agricultural product or service which may be suitable for the program, contact Beanstalk via the website: www.beanstalkagtech.com/droughtventurestudio
If you enjoyed this story on Beanstalk AgTech, you might like to read about the importance of drought preparedness.