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Up-and-coming entrepreneurs take out Australian AgTech championship

AusFAC finalists Patrick Edward (Ubot), Tim Hyde (Swan Systems), David Finlay (MPT AgTech), David Rubic (SmartShepherd), Lewis Collins (BioScout), Saron Berhane (BioScout) and John Barraclaugh (UAG Nutrients).

INTERNATIONAL farm-tech competition the Future Agro Challenge held its Australian competition on the Atherton Tablelands last weekend, crowning Australia’s most innovative agtech startup for 2019.

The Australian Future Agro Challenge (AusFAC) brings six of the best food and agtech startups who are helping solve the challenges of 21st century farming and food distribution.

“We all know the agriculture industry is facing significant challenges, but there are a lot of really exciting things happening to help farmers and the food supply chain address these. The quality of the agtech innovations we’ve showcased this weekend has really been outstanding,” AusFAC Organising Committee Chair Calum Kippin said.

The winner of this year’s AusFAC was BioScout, represented by Lewis Collins, have developed a system to pick up airborne plant disease pathogens before crops are affected, mapping out the locations of potential disease for farmers.

AusFAC is the only Australian agtech event that is part of an international network.

BioScout will now represent Australia in a global competition, where they will present their innovation up against farm entrepreneurs from over 60 countries, with the opportunity to connect with global agtech mentors, investors and corporate clients.

Australia has already had one winner of the global competition, while the 2018 Australian representative SwarmFarm placed third.

“We want to put the Tablelands on the map for farm innovation and agtech. Hosting a global event like this, on farms in our agriculture region is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the latest farm innovation to local farmers, and to showcase our amazing farming region to agtech entrepreneurs.”

AusFAC was hosted on the Atherton Tablelands on November 1 and 2, featuring keynote speakers Queensland Chief Entrepreneur Leanne Kemp, in her first visit to the region, and KPMG Head of AgriTech Ben van Delden.

This is the fourth time the event has been held, run by StartUp & Innovation Tablelands. Co-Chair of Startup and Innovation Tablelands, Christine Doan, was thrilled with the outcome.

“What a great event our team put together,”

“The visiting startups all praised this competition, because it happens on-farm, whereas most similar events are held in concrete and glass jungles in inner cities. Our visitors love our friendly atmosphere and our unique natural attributes.”

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