20 Jobs: $5m 'smart farm facility' to boost Bundy industry
THE next level of 'smart farming' could be achieved with the construction of an agricultural technology facility in Bundaberg.
The location has yet to be confirmed by the Central Queensland University, which has benefited from $5 million in Federal Government funding.
Construction of the project could attract international companies and improve the local market for export.
When constructed the facility could create up to 20 local jobs, but depending on the agricultural opportunities or investment it attracts could trigger more.
Federal MP Keith Pitt announced the funding in a joint statement with CQUniversity and Bundaberg's deputy mayor Bill Trevor at Agrotrend yesterday.
Through Mr Pitt's political efforts the funding will be given regardless of the outcome of the federal election.
Mr Pitt said the facility will help Bundaberg to be "one of the most advanced agricultural hubs in the world” which would collect useful farming data including moisture levels, soil data, and fruit fly levels.
The facility would be another step towards "farming smarter and better.”
"It is about attracting big businesses and companies in the region,” he said.
"We produce some of the best agriculture in the world.”
Deputy mayor Bill Trevor said the facility represented Bundaberg's importance in Australia's agricultural industry.
"We are smart farmers here and we are getting smarter,” Cr Trevor said.
"There is a lot of technology in farming now.”
Cr Trevor was uncertain when the facility's benefits would reflect back into local farms.
"It will be put in place very quickly.”
"It won't take that long.”
CQUniversity's associate vice-chancellor for Wide Bay Burnett, Luke Sinclair, said the university wanted to move beyond a "smart phone” concept of data sharing, towards what he titled a "smart region concept” of sharing and analysing local problems in the industry.
It was difficult to determine the precise number of jobs created from the facility but he estimated between 10 to 20.
CQUniversity's director of institute for future farming systems, Professor Phil Brown, said the increase in local farming data would be an opportunity for international investment.
"It is something we certainly want to encourage,” he said.