Minister for Agriculture and Federal Member for New England, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce, joined UNE Vice-Chancellor Annabelle Duncan for the opening of the new state-of-the-art facility.
The Innovation Centre, which sits right in the middle of the operating grazing pasture of UNE’s Sustainable Manageable Accessible Rural Technologies (SMART) Farm, is an inspirational research, education and outreach facility built to showcase the integration of technology, science and farming.
The Centre is fully connected via AARNet fibre and the National Broadband Network which means that visitors and students of all ages will be able to connect remotely to the many live plant, animal and machine data streams emanating from the Farm. They will also be able to engage in lectures, field days and master classes as virtual visitors from anywhere in the world.
UNE Vice-Chancellor Annabelle Duncan said the SMART Farm is pioneering modern farming in Australia through its use of the latest technologies and science expertise.
“Our 7,000 acre SMART Farm is pretty well unmatched in Australia and in most of the world and we are actively working together with industry, in particular in the field of agriculture, to excel in research that matters,” Professor Duncan said.
“The Farm brings together experts from a number of different disciplines, all of whom are working together to address key research challenges in agricultural production and profitability, policy and business, sustainable land management, and the physical and mental wellbeing and resilience of rural and regional families and communities.
“The Innovation Centre is an exciting new addition to the SMART Farm, and will allow more people – from school students to researchers – to engage in the groundbreaking work that is being done here.”