In the news

The combination of the Institute’s Australian Agricultural Roundtable conference, newly published research and timely blogs generated many news articles in recent months. In addition, a focus on communication via social media saw a dramatic increase in positive engagement, helping to cement the Institute’s reputation as a thought leader on agricultural policy issues.

In mainstream media, General Manager Research Richard Heath was interviewed on ABC Radio NSW by Chris Bath on the adoption of robotics and digital technology in Australian agriculture, and his Ag Forum blog on ‘Why the human element slows research adoption’ appeared in The Land and online.

Executive Director Mick Keogh’s article – ‘Can rural RDCs survive another 25 years?’ – also appeared in several Fairfax agricultural publications:

‘There is probably an element of ‘familiarity breeding contempt’ in the current relationship between farmers and RDCs, as few farmers can remember the previous landscape or imagine what the agricultural R&D environment would be like in Australia in the absence of RDCs.
‘Undertaking measures to enhance the trust and support of levy-payers will create a very firm foundation for the future of the RDCs over the next 25 years, allowing them to continue to play a very important role in Australia’s agricultural development.’

For more AFI in the media, visit our newsroom web page: 

On social media, the Institute’s profile skyrocketed, going from 8200 Twitter ‘impressions’ (ie views or clicks) in September to 70,100 impressions in January. The Institute has set up a Facebook page, to reach out to future ag policy-makers, and reactivated its LinkedIn page. We also started a regular three-minute video update in which staff discuss current research and issues of topical interest.

While social media is not a primary focus for the Institute, increased exposure is beneficial to promote our research, encourage attendance at events and consolidate our position as a ‘go-to’ source in the sector. 

Follow AFI at @AustFarmInstitu on Twitter, or on Facebook and LinkedIn.

New staff

The Institute welcomed several new staff to the team in 2017.

Research Officer Anne Laurie, currently completing a Bachelor of Economics with a major in Agricultural Economics at the University of Sydney, joined in March. In July, Kate Trotter started as Events and Membership Officer. Kate is in her final trimester of studying a double degree in Bachelor of Agriculture and Bachelor of Business at the University of New England. Katie McRobert took on the role of Senior Research Officer in December from a background in journalism, communications and project management.

See all staff profiles and find out more about the Institute’s structure at


Digital agriculture is evolving rapidly. Recent industry discussions have focused on explaining the technology. As tech awareness matures, it’s time to shift focus to the fundamental enabler in this revolution without which there would be no agriculture, let alone digital agriculture: people.

The Australian Farm Institute Digital Farmers conference will explore the role that people play in digital agriculture, and the impact of digital agriculture on people. Each session will focus on how different agricultural stakeholders become part of the developing digital landscape.

The annual mid-year conference will be held at Jones Bay Wharf with a gala dinner at the Maritime Museum and pre-dinner drinks aboard the HMAS Vampire, overlooking the Vivid Sydney light show.

Image:  CAFNR