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Business & Rural

7 May, 2021

BCG Leading Partner in Drought Resilience and Innovation

Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) will be a leading partner in The University of Melbourne’s Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub which will receive $8 million in funding over the next four years from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.

BCG meeting with Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud in March 2021, discussing the skills and capability of BCG and the role BCG plays within the region. Pictured left to right BCG CEO Fiona Best, Minister David Littleproud, Member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster and BCG CEO John Ferrier

The Victorian hub will be a unique state-wide partnership to help farmers, agricultural businesses and communities become more resilient to the impacts of future droughts. It will play a critical role 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 and commercialisation.

BCG will lead the North West regional node of the hub.

Other partners in the Victoria Hub are Mallee Regional Innovation Centre, Food and Fibre Gippsland, Southern Farming Systems and Riverine Plains – together with Deakin University, Federation University, La Trobe University and Agriculture Victoria.

BCG CEO Fiona Best said: that the Hub offers a wonderful collaborative model that will bring the best people together irrespective of organisation, fast tracking the delivery of innovation and practical solutions to the regions, building skills, capability and resilience.

“The Birchip Cropping Group is delighted to be part of the collaboration as a key ‘node’ as well as providing leadership support to the hub.

“The hub offers farmers and regional communities a new delivery mechanism to ensure research and extension outcomes are provided in practical and tangible ways that are locally relevant.

“Having direct connections to the regions through farming systems groups such as the Birchip Cropping Group will no doubt be one of the key success factors of this initiative,” Ms Best finished.

The Victoria Hub, which will be led from the University of Melbourne’s Dookie campus, plans to be operational by the end of April.

It is one of eight drought resilience hubs across Australia.

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.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs have come about through the forward-thinking Future Drought Fund – a long term, sustained investment of $100 million each year to build drought preparedness.

“The partner organisations involved in this hub will bring together farmers, researchers, state government, local entrepreneurs, Indigenous groups, NRM practitioners, industry and community groups and non-profit sector organisations.”

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