Eligible Local Government Areas
The program will run in stages and be rolled out across 11 local government areas including:
- Carrathool, Griffith and Leeton
- Moree Plains and Narrabri
- Orange and Cabonne
- Ballina, Byron and Lismore
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 grants program closed on 31 August 2023.
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.
- Facilitate improved access to on-farm connectivity options in targeted LGAs in Regional NSW.
- Develop evidence of tangible productivity and efficiency gains as a result of the improved on-farm connectivity.
- 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.
- Improve the digital capability and skills of farming businesses and their workforce to enable greater awareness and adoption of digital technologies.
- 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
We partnered with Tocal College to develop a comprehensive connectivity and Agtech workshop for farmers. The training course equipped farmers with the knowledge and skills to identify, implement and utilise cost effective Agtech, plus provided an opportunity for farmers to analyse their business needs and farm landscape to develop a monitoring plan.
Farms of the Future Grants
The grant program closed on 31 August 2023.
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.
- 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
Interview and farm Agtech overview with Brian Ditchfield, farm collaborator from Coonamble, showcasing the technology implemented on his livestock and dryland cropping enterprise.
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.
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.
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.
Want to know more?
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This program is part of the NSW Regional Digital Connectivity program and funded by the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.