In the news

More than 300 agribusiness professionals, farmers, technology experts and entrepreneurs attended AFI’s recent Harvesting the Benefits of Digital Agriculture Conference, in Melbourne. The event garnered a great deal of media interest, including the article: ‘Montagu farmer Mike Buckby uses provenance in product marketing’, by Johanna Baker-Dowdell, in The Examiner (21/06/2017):

‘I talked about selling the romance of the product – whether it’s beef, dairy or bottled water – and telling people the story of how you do it and why you do it,’ Mr Buckby said.

The conference also featured in the articles: ‘Data harvested with cotton’, by Alex Sampson, in The Weekly Times (21/06/2017); ‘New network to boost farm tech capabilities’, by Gregor Heard, in Queensland Country Life (21/06/2017); ‘Digital Ag adds value to entire supply chain: AFI’, by Andrew Miller, in Stock & Land (16/06/2017); and ‘Digital agriculture to provide value throughout the supply chain’, on Beef Central (16/06/2017):

‘The agriculture industry is moving to a point where we are getting more serious about where the benefits are in technology, or what we call digital agriculture, and we want to know what the business case for that technology is,’ AFI executive director Mick Keogh said in his address.

‘Digital agriculture is emerging right through the supply chain and there is a need for a whole-of-industry approach that provides benefit from producers and throughout the supply chain,’ Mr Keogh said.

‘For data to be valuable it has to go both ways – from farmer up the supply chain and back again,’ AFI general manager of research, Richard Heath said.

A Twitter moment shares some of the conference atmosphere: ‘This is about smart farmers getting even smarter’ (Carissa Buckland @clbuckland); ‘Really enjoyed #womeninag on every panel at today’s #aficonf Aptly wrapped up by Fiona Simpson’s #nff passionate voice #genderdiversity’ (Jane Trindall @TrindallJane); and ‘Ideas are a cheap commodity – we need an execution boom’ Bob McKay – Founder and executive chair of AgriDigital (Hannah Marriott @agrifoodsys).

SAVE THE DATE: Sydney, 9 & 10 November 2017

The Australian Farm Institute will be holding its annual Agriculture Roundtable Conference in Sydney on the 9th and 10th of November 2017. The event commences with dinner on the evening of Thursday 9th November and continues with breakfast and a full day’s discussion on Friday 10th November.

The Australian Agriculture Roundtable Conference has been held by the Australian Farm Institute every year for 13 years. It brings together the most senior leaders of Australian agriculture and agribusiness to discuss issues of strategic importance to the future of the sector. Sponsorship opportunities are available.


The John Ralph Essay Competition is an annual competition conducted by the Australian Farm Institute to encourage strategic and creative thinking about issues of importance to the future of the sector in Australia. The topic of the John Ralph Essay Competition for 2017 is: Structural changes in the Australian agriculture sector over the past two decades have thwarted the objectives of competition reforms.

The competition awards two prizes – Open: $5000 and Novice: $1000, plus free attendance at the 2017 Australian Agriculture Roundtable Conference

Entries close: Monday, 4 September 2017


Recently the Institute’s Executive Director, Mick Keogh, has spoken at:

  • Warakirri Agricultural Asset Management Leadership Group, Melbourne
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries Biosecurity and Food Safety 2017 Strategic Planning Workshop, Sydney.

Richard Heath, the Institute’s General Manager Research, has spoken at:

  • Consulate General of India Food Supply Chain Management Seminar, Sydney
  • 2017 Farming Together Forum, Adelaide
  • GrainGrowers Innovation Generation Conference 2017, Adelaide
  • Epping Probus Club, Sydney.

Image:  Pete Hill