Southern Farming Systems leading the South West node of the Victorian Drought Resilience Hub
The Victorian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub will play a critical role to help farmers, agricultural businesses and communities become more resilient to the impacts of future droughts by connecting these sectors to innovative technologies and practices. It will also translate research and knowledge into impactful outcomes and support take-up through testing, adoption and scaling-up of new solutions.
Southern Farming Systems (SFS) will lead the South West regional node of the hub and will be partnering with lead agency Melbourne University along with Deakin University, Federation University, LaTrobe University, Agriculture Victoria and farming groups – Birchip Cropping Group, Food & Fibre Gippsland, Riverine Plains and Mallee Regional Innovation Centre to create the Victorian Hub.
The Victoria Hub, based from the University of Melbourne’s Dookie campus, has received $8 million in funding over the next four years from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, and plans to be operational by the end of April. It is one of eight drought resilience hubs across Australia.
Scott Chirnside SFS CEO said “This ground-breaking project, where four universities, Agriculture Victoria, and five farming systems groups have gathered together as a team, will create and extend the best information and innovative technologies to prepare and educate rural communities in Victoria for the next climatic challenge, whenever it may be.”
“We are tackling these issues when seasons and returns have been better in all rural industries. Our aim is that individuals, businesses and communities can make informed choices about how they might tackle the next drought by making those critical decisions and creating well documented plans now, not whilst in the sleep deprived and highly stressed, anxious state, that drought induces in rural populations.”
Hub Co-Director Professor Tim Reeves, from the University of Melbourne Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, said this investment will make a real difference to how we deal with future droughts on farms, in the management of our environment, and in our communities.
“This hub brings together a great team focussed on delivering real impacts for the agri-food sector in Victoria, in terms of enhanced drought resilience and greater adaptation to our changing climate,’’ Professor Reeves said.
“A feature of this hub is the unprecedented co-operation between the partners to co-design and co-govern innovative approaches to future drought resilience. It bodes well for the team to make a real difference to our regional industries and communities.’’
Federal Member for Nicholls, the Hon. Damian Drum announced the Hub at a launch event in Dookie. He said, “Victoria was hit hard by the recent Australia-wide drought, which took a heavy toll on individual household income, as well as entire industries and communities.
“Getting regional people working together to ensure research and development is useful for Victorians is a vital step towards successful drought management in our communities.