The Free Press (Corowa)
Riverine Plains to partner in hubs
Mulwala-based farming systems group, Riverine Plains, will play an important role in two of the Federal Government’s Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs being established in North East Victoria and Southern NSW.
The hubs are being established through the Australian Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund and will focus on addressing drought resilience research and innovation priorities.
Riverine Plains Chair and Howlong farmer, Ian Trevethan, explained that Riverine Plains will lead the North East node of the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, to be established by the University of Melbourne at Dookie, and will also partner in the southern NSW Hub being established at Wagga Wagga by Charles Sturt University.
“Farmers understand all too well how difficult it is to manage and then recover from drought and the hubs will play an important role in supporting farmers and communities to better prepare for future droughts and climate challenges,” Ian said.
“The hubs will work by connecting farmers, industry and researchers, with the resulting collaborations helping to drive development of innovative on-farm R&D technologies and practices that can improve future drought resilience, as well as their on-farm adoption.”
Each hub will receive $8 million over four years, with the hubs anticipated to be up and running by the end of April.
The Victorian Hub will be led by the University of Melbourne Dookie campus, in partnership with Deakin University, Federation University, La Trobe University, Agriculture Victoria, Riverine Plains, Birchip Cropping Group, Southern Farming Systems, Food and Fibre Gippsland and Mallee Regional Innovation Centre. Hub nodes will be established in Mulwala, Mildura, Birchip, Inverleigh and Warragul.
Victorian Hub co-director Professor Tim Reeves from the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, said the Dookie hub will focus on delivering improved drought resilience and greater adaptation to a changing climate for farmers, agricultural businesses and communities in the region.
“This is a unique state-wide partnership which also involves an unprecedented level of co-operation between the partners to codesign and govern the project, with these connections increasing the project’s potential to make a real difference to our regional industries and communities,” he said.
The southern NSW hub will be led by Charles Sturt University (CSU) at Wagga Wagga and will support farmers and communities from Broken Hill to Cobar, the Macquarie catchment to the Hawkesbury and to the Victorian and South Australian state borders.
Partners in the southern NSW hub are Australian National University, Farming Systems Groups Alliance, First Nations Governance Circle, Local Land Services, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Rural Aid, University of Canberra and University of Wollongong.
The Farming Systems Group Alliance includes Riverine Plains, FarmLink Research,
Central West Farming Systems, Holbrook Landcare Network, Irrigated Cropping Council, Irrigation Research and Extension Committee and Southern Growers.
It is planned that the hubs will offer resources, including staff and programs across areas such as water management, food security, farming systems, agribusiness, community support, regional development and environment.
“Drought and climate variability can massively impact the profitability and sustainability of farmers and communities across the Riverine Plains region and we are looking forward to being involved in both the Victorian and southern NSW Hubs and helping to drive innovation in drought preparedness,” Mr Trevethan concluded.
Find out more by visiting www.agriculture. gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/future-droughtfund/research-adoption-program.