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Farm Safety App to Help Secure Queensland’s Agricultural Future

Queensland’s agriculture industry will have a new workplace health and safety tool thanks to a Digital Transformation Grant as part of Queensland’s Economic Recovery Plan. The Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities said the Central Highlands Regional Resources Use Planning Cooperative (CHRRUP) would use its A$ 38,500 grant to develop the SafeStation app, which is custom-made for agriculture being used mostly by clients in Central Queensland.

It was noted that the grants were established under Queensland’s Economic Recovery plan to help our agricultural industries make better use of digital technologies and access new opportunities. The COVID-19 Pandemic created serious challenges for the agriculture sector, but the Palaszczuk Government has worked closely with industry to find solutions for emerging problems and stand shoulder to shoulder with local farmers.

The grant to CHRRUP will support a A$ 78,000 project that will include:

  • Enhancing the digital skills of agriculture businesses;
  • Keep on-farm safety processes simple and practical; and
  • Give employees and property owners vital safety information 24/7 via their smartphone or tablet.

The grant means the SafeStation app project can be fast-tracked, and the program will have an important impact on farm safety. The CHRRUP Chief Executive Officer said the risk of serious injuries on farms meant establishing a strong safety culture was vital for any agribusiness.

With over 20 years of experience supporting the agricultural industry, the challenges that farmers face when it comes to meeting their WHS responsibilities and what sort of information they need on hand to make their workplace safer. The SafeStation App allows everything from policies and safe work procedures to individual chemical and vehicle maintenance logs to be accessed quickly and simply using a smartphone or tablet. The government works with everyone in the business from owners to employees to create a system that works for their property and tailor the app accordingly.

A total of A$ 5.5 million is being invested over three years through the Digital Transformation in Agribusiness Initiative. The funding, as part of Queensland’s COVID-19 economic recovery strategy, will support agribusinesses to become digitally aware and ready to respond to future disruptions.

Digital technology creates new ways of doing things that add value to the agricultural sector by working more precisely, efficiently and sustainably. It offers innovative ways to connect producers to consumers, reduce problems related to remoteness in rural communities, and attract the next generation to jobs in the industry.

There is strong interest from the industry in the first round of the Agribusiness Digital Solutions Grant Program. There were 22 applications received and the diversity of project proposals demonstrates the opportunities digital technologies create for the sector.

Under a co-investment model, grants of up to A$ 200,000 were offered for projects that enhance digital skills, drive business efficiencies and create regional jobs across Queensland. The approved grants of A$ 1.045 million are for projects that use a range of technologies including the Internet of Things, cloud computing, intelligent apps, big data, automation, artificial intelligence and sensors.

The precision farming market is estimated to be US$7.0 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach US$12.8 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 12.7% between 2020 and 2025. Precision farming is gaining tremendous popularity among farmers due to the increasing need for optimum crop production with limited available resources. Further, the changing weather patterns due to increasing global warming have impelled the adoption of advanced farming technologies to enhance farm productivity and crop yield.

Precision farming has the potential to transform the agricultural sector, making the traditional farming activity more efficient and predictable. Increasing global food demand, extended profitability and crop yield, and crop health monitoring for higher yield production are the major factors fuelling the growth of the precision farming market. Also, government initiatives in many countries are helping farmers to use optimized agricultural and technological tools to improve their production levels.

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