A big thank you to those that attended the 28 July 2016 launch of the UNE Centre for Agribusiness – again my apologies for an absence brought on by airline delays – we are pleased to share some pictures for the well-attended event in the online gallery.  Greetings to all that have signed up via the Centre for Agribusiness webpage or have been in touch via the Project Pipeline.

This month we established some 8 new research projects (see Project Pipeline), formally opened the new SMART Region Incubator, met with 5 local businesses on research collaboration, helped host a visit from staff from the University of Wyoming, and submitted a major research funding proposal.

Developments at the business incubator are proceeding, as we move towards a tender procedure for operating partners in Armidale and Tamworth.

We also initiated the 2017 round of the IFAMA student competition, which will now extend to a 2-week trip to the USA, the first of which will be an agribusiness field trip to Wyoming and Colorado and the second will be spent at the IFAMA conference and agribusiness case study competition in Florida.  We expect to open applications for students and have information for sponsors in the next month and will give you full details on this in September’s Update.

In developing the capacity for the next generation to be tackling key agribusiness challenges, ABRI and the University of New England will be jointly funding the Arthur Rickards Innovation in Agribusiness PhD scholarship to be co-located in the Centre for Agribusiness and ABRI. As well, UNE will be recruiting two new PhDs to progress the wider agenda of the Centre for Agribusiness.  With these new recruits, we look forward to further developing our vibrant team of post-graduate students already engaged in solving agribusiness problems.  Please contact us for more information about these scholarships.

We are finalising the Centre’s governance and operating procedures over the next month, and welcome input from the Armidale and agribusiness community on that subject.  This will extend to governance roles in the Centre, for which nominations will be called in the next month.

In the Australian news this month, we saw good-sized bank profits, but indifferent rugby and cricket performances.  We saw a new report from the Australian Farm Institute that looks at trends in Australian agriculture’s trade performance, with not all good news and a reassurance from SG Heilbron Economic & Policy Consulting that meat processing industry concentration is not threatening competition.

Globally, we see a new publication from the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association on developments in World Dairy, a new FAO management tool for assessing livestock environmental impacts, and further attention to foreign investment in agriculture.

Coming up next month is Centre staff’s participation in the RiRDC GrowAg event, delivery of a short course on value chain analysis in Adelaide, and participation in Southern Cross University’s Farmer Co-operation and Collaboration pilot forum.

I wish you all a successful September 2016 in the business of food and fibre.

Derek BakerDerek Baker
Director, UNE Centre for Agribusiness