Producer Technology Uptake Program (Pilot)

AgriFutures Australia has developed an exciting new pilot program focused on supporting producers to increase the uptake and adoption of technology within their agriculture, fishing or forestry business. Digital technologies are critical to increased productivity through optimising input use, more timely decision-making, labour savings, and improved market access.

The program is designed to work with existing producer networks, who know and understand the needs of producers in their region as well as producer maturity in terms of digital literacy and capacity for technology uptake.

In addition to having access to an online technology adoption hub and delivering a tailored workshop, eligible producer groups can apply for up to $20,000 to develop a bespoke program to specifically support producers in their group to start or continue their technology adoption journey.

The pilot will commence in the first half of 2021, initially involving up to 20 producer groups nationally.

Applications for the Producer Technology Uptake Program (Pilot) close 5pm (AEST) Thursday, 22 April 2021.

Who is the program targeting?

The program targets producers that are interested and willing to innovate and adopt technology, but may lack the knowledge, skills or experience to achieve it.

We know that there are a range of barriers to on-farm technology adoption, including

  • producers overwhelmed with options
  • lack of local support or advisory services
  • lack of individual skills or knowledge around technology and its application
  • the value proposition or return on investment is not clear, and
  • integration of technology across multiple systems, eg. software applications.

The program targets producers who may not have kicked off plans to adopt technology in their business but want to overcome some of these barriers to begin. The program is not designed for “early” technology adopters, ie. those that have developed skills and are already well established technology users, but it is an asset to have their input as part of the program.

What will the program deliver?

The pilot program is focused on delivering practical support, knowledge and capacity, to farmers, fishers and foresters, to adopt technology solutions in their business. The program will achieve this through three deliverables:

1.Online information hub: 

a. Access to an online hub of information specifically designed for producers who want to get involved in technology adoption but do not know where to start. The hub aims to demystify the language around technology adoption and provide helpful tools and resources to start producers on their agtech adoption journey.

b. The hub will also feature case studies, tools, guides and links to useful information.

2.Producer technology workshops: 

a. Successful grant recipients will have access to a bespoke Producer Technology Adoption workshop to be delivered by trained experts, experienced in working with farmers to plan their technology needs and develop practical steps to implementation.

b. Groups will have the opportunity to tailor content to their specific level of maturity and identified need. The workshops are an essential part of the grant, more information is provided below.

3.Producer group grants: 

a. Eligible producer groups can apply for up to $20,000 to build a practical technology uptake program targeting producers. Successful grant recipients will get access to the workshops automatically.

b. Grants are available to develop tailored opportunities to complement the workshop, encourage ongoing implementation and ensure that activity doesn’t end at the completion of the workshop.

Further details on the program can be found here. The Funding Agreement can be found here.

Timeframe for delivery

The pilot will commence in the first half of 2021, initially involving up to 20 producer groups nationally. Projects are expected to run for no more than 12 months.

Eligibility criteria

If you answer ‘yes’ to the following criteria, then you are eligible to apply.

  • Is your organisation based in Australia?
  • Does your group represent producer members (farmers, fishers or foresters)?
  • Are you currently registered with an ABN?
  • Does your group have at least 10 producers committed to participating in the program?
  • Does your group have experience in managing grants, including financial and reporting systems?
  • Would participation in the program genuinely benefit producers in your group?

A number of queries have been received regarding the definition of ‘producer group’ for the purpose of this grant. This grant is intended to fund groups to develop a technology adoption program on behalf of individual producers to help them understand their own business needs and to arm them with the information and knowledge they require to overcome adoption barriers e.g. digital literacy. The program is designed to be agnostic to one technology or solution. Submissions require the development of a program of activities that support individual businesses to increase their on-farm technology uptake.

Examples of producer group include:

  • Existing groups that currently deliver capacity building and on-farm extension activities, e.g. Farming systems groups
  • Agribusinesses who have formed groups around their client base and can deliver technology adoption activities, e.g. agronomists, benchmarking groups
  • Industry groups/ organisations that have a dedicated producer extension arm
  • Landcare groups that deliver on-ground producer training and extension opportunities with an interest in producer technology adoption.

Groups will also be required to demonstrate their experience and capacity to deliver their proposed program. If you are still unsure of your eligibility, please contact programs@agrifutures.com.au

How to apply

Applications are to be submitted through SmartyGrants.  Applications close 5pm (AEST) Thursday, 22 April 2021.

All documentation must be submitted at the time of application, no late applications will be accepted.

Documentation required:

  • Completed application form
  • Completed budget, including in-kind contributions
  • Any other supporting documentation relevant to your application.

Applicants should familiarise themselves with the application guidelines before submitting an application.

Contact

Jennifer Medway

Senior Manager, Rural Futures

programs@agrifutures.com.au