Funding for ag centre probe
Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford has used a visit to the Wimmera to confirm a State Government budget commitment to fund a business case for a Networked Grains Centre of Excellence.
Ms Pulford said the government had allocated $250,000 for the project.
She said the grains industry in the Wimmera and southern Mallee had a proud history of government and industry partnerships in grains innovation.
Ms Pulford said a Networked Grains Centre of Excellence would be a virtual centre with a focal point located at Grains Innovation Park in Horsham.
Grains Innovation Park on Natimuk Road, which has previously been called Victorian Wheat Research Institute, Victorian Crops Research Institute and Victorian Institute of Dryland Agriculture, was established as a partnership between the Victorian government and industry in 1960.
It provides the regional grains industry with access to technology and expertise to support innovation.
A Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership identified at an augural assembly last year that a Networked Grains Centre of Excellence was a priority in 2016.
Ms Pulford said enhancing strategic partnerships with a new business model would create an opportunity to attract innovative enterprises and investment into the grains sector and grow the reputation of Horsham as an internationally recognised innovation centre. “We’re continuing to invest in our food and fibre producers and in the heart and soul of our grain-growing wheatbelt. There’s no better place for science and innovation for our grains industry than in the Wimmera,” she said.
The announcement followed a joint funding deal between the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the State Government for a renewed five-year, $52-million research agreement.
Regional Development Victoria and Agriculture Victoria have worked closely with the Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership on the terms of reference for a working group to progress the project.