Senior executives from Microsoft and John Deere will participate on the judging panel assessing entries in Beef 2021’s Pitch in the Paddock agtech incubator event in May.
There was a 34 percent increase in Pitch in the Paddock entries this year from throughout Australia, as well as Europe. Nine finalists have been chosen to pitch their concepts live on stage during the Rockhampton event in May, livestreamed to a global audience.
The value of this pitching competition is far beyond the $10,000 prize money on offer for the winner. It is the opportunity for finalists to pitch their concepts to world-class judges, in front of potential customers and investors, both live at the event and to a global audience online.
Federal agriculture minister David Littleproud congratulated Beef Australia for its role in driving industry innovation.
“I’m excited about Beef 2021’s focus on innovation, with competitions like Pitch in the Paddock and the tech yards allowing our best and brightest to showcase emerging technologies and new ideas. Setting ourselves up as world-class innovators will drive strong productivity growth and help Australian agriculture meet its target of becoming a $100 billion sector by 2030,” Minister Littleproud said.
Entries this year are diverse, and included an impressive mix of beef-centric technology products, software, apps and physical hardware for use in cattle production and the beef supply chain.
A significant number of entries mirrored trends in beef production, focused on animal health and welfare, workplace health and safety and the end consumer. Consumers are demanding more information on products, evidenced by the rise in block chain technologies being implemented across all sectors of the food industry.
This year’s Pitch in the Paddock judges include
- David Halpern, Sales Strategy and Operations Lead, Microsoft
- Bevan Slattery, Founder SUB.CO, Cloudscene, Superloop, Megaport, NEXTDC and Co-Founder PIPE Networks
- Alex McCauley, CEO, StartupAUS
- Luke Chandler, Managing Director, John Deere Australia & New Zealand
- Bruce Creek, Agricultural Business Management, Thomas Elder Consulting.
One of this year’s judges is Alex McCauley, chief executive of StartupAUS, Australia’s national start-up advocacy organisation, focused on developing high-quality public policy to help make Australia one of the best places in the world to start and grow a technology company.
Mr McCauley said technology was often seen as a disruptive force, changing the way that economies operate. When it comes to agriculture it should instead be seen as a productive force – enhancing output, efficiency and return for producers. If Australia is to meet its ambitious aspirations for agricultural exports over the next decade, it needs to make sure it is unearthing and investing in the right technologies to enable the sector to grow,” he said. This is critical to our ongoing prosperity.”
Another of this year’s judges, Bruce Creek from Thomas Elder Consulting said agtech was going to grab more traction as the effectiveness/efficiencies are displayed to end-users.
“Labour is costly and staff are getting harder to find, and this situation is being displayed all the way from the fruit industry to station hands and manager positions on livestock properties,” he said.
“We already see some of the more common tech solutions saving labour and running costs, using tank monitors and auto water systems. But what about when we can accurately measure biomass of grasses and can assist with grazing management decisions with trigger-points to be made on drought conditions? This is a great space to be in when you can objectively measure and take out emotion,” Mr Creek said.
Beef Australia chair Bryce Camm was a driving force behind the establishment of the agtech incubator competition three years ago, and was thrilled to see its growth in 2021.
“I rely on agtech in my own business operations and understand its value. Beef Australia plays a vital role in supporting the development and launch of new technology for our industry,” Mr Camm said.
“Pitch in the Paddock exposes members of the beef supply chain to the technology and innovations that are in the development pipeline – a unique way for innovators to connect with both farmers and investors. I am looking forward to hearing first-hand what is ahead for our industry at Beef 2021 and encourage others to join me,” Mr Camm said.
He said the event was extremely grateful to its principal partners for their support. “The Australian Government has invested $3.9 million and the Queensland Government $1 million, to help us deliver a significant new precinct and initiatives, showcasing agricultural technology,” Mr Camm said.
In 2021 Beef Australia’s Pitch in the Paddock event is presented by evokeAG.
“This union is the first of its kind for the Australian beef industry and the recent state and federal Government initiatives supporting innovation and technology in agricultural sectors have no doubt contributed also,” Mr Camm said.