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Sydney Institute of Agriculture launched to solve great challenges

Yesterday, National Farmers’ Federation CEO Tony Mahar with director Professor Alex McBratney launched the Sydney Institute of Agriculture, established to research and contribute valuable knowledge to the agriculture and food sector.

The Sydney Institute of Agriculture was established to bring together agricultural research from across the University of Sydney and contribute valuable knowledge to the agriculture and food sector. The Institute provides world-leading, cutting-edge research and outreach for agricultural innovation, business and policy. 

Sydney Institute of Agriculture director Professor Alex McBratney said to continue to be productive as well as profitable in a changing environment, rather than “incremental change”, Australia needs to develop a “new agriculture”.

“The Sydney Institute of Agriculture is here to provide solutions and rigorous planning for future food and fibre, assisting farmers to produce the clean, green products Australia is renowned for,” Professor McBratney said.

The Institute encompasses areas and projects such as:

...we need a smart, capable, visionary agricultural army made up of graduates typical of those from the University of Sydney
Tony Mahar, CEO, NFF

"Agriculture is the fastest growing of all Australia’s 19 industries. In the year past, agriculture grew by a whopping 23%. Today agriculture and affiliated industries provide jobs to about 11.5 million Australians," NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.

"But farming’s current time in the sun hasn’t arrived out of nowhere. It is a result of a dedication to continual improvement - both improvement to farming practices and business operatio - with Australia’s farmers amongst the most innovative in the world.

"I am ever so happy that we have the University of Sydney and its long history of excellence in practical agricultural academia to nurture the next crop of farmers, agribusiness professionals, researchers and overall leaders.

"The consolidation of the University of Sydney’s agriculture research under one umbrella will lessen the gaps between agronomy, research, business management and policy," Mr Mahar said.

NFF CEO Tony Mahar with University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence, Sydney Institute of Agriculture Director, Prof Alex McBratney, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Duncan Ivison at the launch. Photo: University of Sydney

"The opening of the University of Sydney’s Institute of Agriculture comes at a time when investment in rural R&D is growing," Mr Mahar said

"Just last week ABARES reported rural R&D investment had increased from $2.6 billion in 2005-2006 to $3.3 billion in 2014-2015. A large tranche of this increased funding has come from the private sector.

"Increased R&D will be needed if Australian farmers are to continue to feed the world.

"Today we feed about 61 million people globally! But demand to feed more global citizens is REAL.

"To continue to contribute to this task, we need a smart, capable, visionary agricultural army made up of graduates typical of those from the University of Sydney."

RIPPA operating on a lettuce crop in Lindenow, Victoria Photo: University of Sydney

For more information about the Sydney Institute of Agriculture, click here  

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