Historically, agriculture has advanced through new technology, but that change has been incremental and over long periods of time, Agrifutures Chair and industry commentator, Kay Hulls, says.
But today, change is happening “not over centuries, decades or even years”, but moment to moment and it needs to be embraced.
That was the strong message today at this year’s peak industry agriculture event, EvokeAg from the former politician. She shared it in front of a massive 1,300 delegates from 23 countries, stating that the industry needs to be “globally aware” and willing to embrace change if they are to succeed in the future.
“We need to be brave, we need to be bold and we need to adapt. We need to look at the entire landscape of opportunities in front of us, not just see them as challenges,” she said.
“We have the power to drive real change in agriculture and the way we see the world.”
Years of drought, natural disasters, the recent bushfires and changing market conditions have undoubtedly taken their toll on the sector. But Hulls says that opportunities, especially in the agritech and food innovation space, are immense.
Smart agricultural businesses can position themselves to access the global market, she told the audience of farmers, innovators and investors. She said there is an “explosion of innovation” in research and technology in agriculture that needs to be commercialised.
“We have a hungrier world with a bumpier ride as we adjust to this globalisation. We face a changing climate, transformative technologies and of course, those choosy customers,” Hulls said. “All of these [things] are changing the way we produce, transport, package and the way we sell our food and fibre to the world.”
When Hull was growing up in rural Australia, she lamented to her father that she wanted things to change and evolve around her. He told her that in order to inspire change, people needed to act.
“He said to me, ‘Katie…once I was young and I was standing in that field, watching a disaster looming, and I was powerless, I was helpless…I looked up to the heavens and I said, ‘please, just do something. Then I heard a voice in my head, it said: ‘I did do something, I created you.”
“I implore you to be that person. Dare to be different. Be the person to see the opportunities in the challenges, not just the challenges.”