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Published: 27 Nov 2020

Forthside Vegetable Research Facility

A partnership between the University of Tasmania and the State Government will see $7.4 million invested in the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture’s (TIA) northern research farms.

The investment will transform TIA’s Forthside Vegetable Research Facility and Elliott Dairy Research Facility into centres of excellence to maximise their potential and deliver better outcomes for Tasmanian agriculture.

TIA Interim Director, Professor Michael Rose said the funding would enable TIA to continue to undertake valuable agricultural research, industry development and education programs to drive productivity and sustainability for the Tasmanian agricultural sector for the next decade.

“Elliott and Forthside are our two key research farms and each site currently hosts significant and active RD&E programs in partnership between TIA, national research and development corporations and the private sector,” Professor Rose said.

“This investment will see both Elliott and Forthside converted to Sustainable, Manageable, Accessible Rural Technology (SMART) farms, that will offer researchers, students, growers and the community a place and digital infrastructure to work together to solve real-world problems.

“The funding supports TIA’s bold vision for our research farms that includes an integrated research, industry development and education ‘Future of Farming hub’ in the north of the state.”

The Future of Farming hub will better connect the University with other education providers and Tasmania’s agricultural and food sectors and ensure delivery of State priorities for the benefit of industry.

Situated in the heart of Tasmania’s agricultural regions, the hub will support Tasmanian agriculture to respond to and capitalise on digital transformation and new technologies and will be critical for the research and development of innovations that advance sustainable, cool climate agri-food production in the 21st Century and beyond.

Professor Brian Yates, Executive Dean of the College of Sciences and Engineering said the University was committed to delivering place-based and regionally distinctive research and education.

“What the University needs to do to achieve its mission for Tasmania, we need to do in partnership. We do this in a range of ways, and supporting our primary industries to be world class, highly productive and sustainable is an important one,” Professor Yates said.

“This investment builds on a highly valued Joint Venture Agreement between the University and the State Government, that enables TIA to deliver significant outcomes for Tasmanian agriculture.

“This strong partnership is a model that nurtures collaboration with industry and that draws on regional and sectoral strengths, delivering impactful outcomes to the whole of Tasmania, from the regional North West.

“The research farms are a valuable asset for delivering against both State and University of Tasmania strategies to support productive and sustainable agriculture in Tasmania.”

TIA plays a key role in underpinning innovation and productivity gains in Tasmanian agriculture to achieve the target of an industry valued at $10B annually by 2050.

The University and TIA remain committed to working towards this vision with the State and to making significant steps towards the vision being realised within the next 10 years.

TIA is a joint venture between the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government.