A NSW Government website

Published 1 December 2022

Farms of the Future Program

The Farms of the Future program will deliver on-farm connectivity solutions to five target regions comprising 11 local government areas (LGAs) in rural and regional NSW. It is aimed to encourage producers to adopt Agtech to assist them to boost productivity, increase their market competitiveness and improve sustainable use of resources in the agricultural sector, which includes water efficiency, drought preparedness and increasing resilience to climate change.


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Locations

The program will run in stages and be rolled out across 11 local government areas including:

  1. Carrathool, Griffith and Leeton
  2. Armidale
  3. Moree Plains and Narrabri
  4. Orange and Cabonne
  5. Ballina, Byron and Lismore

Farms of the future

The Farms of the Future program aims to facilitate tech-enabled production and monitoring through improved connectivity and installation of sensor equipment which support increased productivity, competitiveness, job creation and sustainable use of resources in the selected agricultural sectors: Cotton, Livestock, Grains and Horticultural tree crops and vines.

The Farms of the Future program has two core streams of investment:

  • Extension and Capacity Building: the development and roll-out of a multifaceted education and capacity building campaign aimed at building farmer and supplier knowledge of the benefits and use of technology in agriculture.
  • Grants: the provision of grants for farmers in target LGAs to establish connectivity and incentivise Agtech device uptake and de-risk investment. Commencing 2023.

Program Objectives

In response to the challenges identified in industry research and the NSW Government’s Farms of the Future pilot program in 2020 , five key objectives have been developed to guide the expansion of the program from 2022 to 2025.

  1. Facilitate improved access to on-farm connectivity options in targeted LGAs in Regional NSW.
  2. Develop evidence of tangible productivity and efficiency gains as a result of the improved on-farm connectivity.
  3. Accelerate the uptake of Internet of Things (IoT) Agtech to support increased productivity, profitability, competitiveness and the sustainable use of resources in the agriculture sector.
  4. Improve the digital capability and skills of farming businesses and their workforce to enable greater awareness and adoption of digital technologies.
  5. Support collaboration across local, State and Commonwealth Government programs, as well as across industry and the community.

How are we delivering on-farm connectivity solutions?

Through the Grants Program the NSW government is supporting the implementation of on-farm connectivity solutions in the target regions to help address some of the barriers to farmers adopting digital technology devices on their properties.

What is Agtech?

Agtech is the collective term for the tools and technologies – sensors, farm management software, imagery, and smart farm equipment – that enable best practice agriculture. It also describes the connected systems that collect, collate, store and analyse large quantities of spatial and non-spatial data to support and action decisions. In the case of the Farms of the Future program, it is focused on connectivity and IoT based Agtech, which can support, and integrate, into a farm wide technology approach.

What is Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the collective network of connected devices and the technology that facilitates communication between devices, the cloud, as well as the devices themselves. The Internet of Things integrates everyday ‘things’ with the internet.

Examples of farm IoT devices include:

  • Fuel level monitors
  • Water level sensors
  • Security cameras
  • Water flow sensors
  • Pump and valve controls and monitors
  • Livestock tags and in paddock weigh stations
  • Location devices on farm machinery
  • Gate movement sensors

What is LoRaWAN?

LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) is a type of connectivity which uses unlicensed radio spectrum to enable wireless, wide area communication between very low power usage sensors through localised gateways connected to the network.

Once the connectivity baseline is in place, farmers can effectively implement all forms of IoT (Internet of Things) and other digital on farm solutions to improve their productivity, reduce risk, improve safety for workers, and have a better peace of mind.



Agtech Training Program

View Training Program

We have partnered with Tocal College to develop a comprehensive one-day connectivity and Agtech workshop for farmers. The training course will equip growers with the knowledge and skills to identify, implement and utilise cost effective Agtech, plus provide an opportunity for growers to analyse their business needs and farm landscape to develop a monitoring plan. The workshops for program applicants will be conducted at our demonstration hubs or online. Producers must complete the one-day training workshop or online course, before qualifying for the grants program from 2023.



Farms of the Future Grants

Commencing in 2023, a grants program will be available for primary producers in the target LGAs. The grant will be for purchasing approved connectivity solutions and digital Agtech devices with a level of co-contribution required to participate in the program.  Producers will be able to choose from a catalogue of pre specified Agtech suppliers, for devices supporting the 4 agricultural sector use cases, in accordance with the monitoring plan developed in the training program.

To be kept up to date with the grant opportunities and have access to the guidelines as soon as they are available, please subscribe below.


Agtech Demonstration Hubs

Tom Flanagan 0437654633

Wollongbar Demonstration Hub

Contact: E: tom.flanagan@dpi.nsw.gov.au Demonstrating a range of connectivity solutions and Agtech devices in livestock production, horticulture and viticulture, particularly tree fruits and nuts, to primary producers in Byron, Lismore and Ballina local government areas. Workshops and training available for all growers.

Clare Belfield 0447189405

Orange Demonstration Hub

Email: clare.belfield@dpi.nsw.gov.au Demonstrating a range of connectivity solutions and agtech devices in horticulture, viticulture and livestock, to primary producers in Orange and Cabonne local government areas.

Justin Mathews 0491462592

Armidale Demonstration Hub

Demonstrating a range of connectivity solutions and agtech devices in livestock and grain crops, to primary producers in the Armidale local government area.

Sarah Groat 0400 331 196

Yanco Demonstration Hub

Email: sarah.groat@dpi.nsw.gov.au Demonstrating a range of connectivity solutions and agtech devices in horticulture, viticulture, grain crops, cotton, and livestock, to primary producers in Carrathool, Griffith and Leeton local government areas.

Will Winter 0483286862

Narrabri Demonstration Hub

Demonstrating a range of connectivity solutions and agtech devices in cotton, grains and livestock to primary producers in the Moree and Narrabri local government areas.


Government Support

The NSW Government has committed $48 million to the expanded Farms of the Future program, which is part of the Regional Digital Connectivity program, and funded by the $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.

The program is part of the Future Ready Regions strategy, that lays out the government’s plans to support and work with regional communities, farmers, and industries, enabling them to become more self-reliant and better prepared for the impacts of future drought events and other economic shocks.



Farms of the Future Pilot Project

The Farms of the Future pilot tested options for the NSW Government in the development of the proposal for the expanded program. The three pilot farms provided an opportunity to test technology options in partnership with farms and communities, providing a place for producers to experience Agtech working on site in commercial farming environments.

This involved:

  • Deployment of a wide range of commercially available connectivity solutions and field sensor technology across various agricultural sectors on three farms in Narromine, Coonamble and Blayney.
  • A development and education program for producers in the pilot farm regions, providing access to a range of digital resources and information.
  • Virtual tours of the three pilot farms, that showcased the various sensor technologies and insights from the farmers and subject matter experts. These virtual tours also provided interested farmers and agribusinesses access to the ag tech providers involved.

Agtech Pilot Farms

Agtech Pilot Farm Coonamble

Interview and farm Agtech overview with Brian Ditchfield, farm collaborator from Coonamble, showcasing the technology implemented on his livestock and dryland cropping enterprise.

Agtech Pilot Farm Narromine

Interview and farm Agtech overview with Rob Tuck, farm collaborator from Narromine, showcasing the technology implemented on his livestock, dryland cropping and irrigated summer crop enterprise.

Agtech Pilot Farm Blayney

Interview and farm Agtech overview with James Crossing, farm collaborator from Panuara, near Blayney, showcasing the technology implemented on his livestock and irrigated vineyard enterprise.

Agtech Pilot Farm Webinars

A range of digital resources, including a 3-part webinar series and virtual farm walks, have been produced to showcase the on-farm technology in use, to provide producers with unique insight and an opportunity to learn about the farmers' first-hand experiences and the benefits to their farming enterprises.

Contact

FOTF@dpi.nsw.gov.au



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Funding

This program is part of the NSW Regional Digital Connectivity program and funded by the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.