AUSTRADE USA AGRITECH VISIT
I was fortunate to participate in the recent Austrade USA Agritech Mission during which we spent a week in California and a week in the Midwest of the USA. The Austrade team put together a fantastic group and a wonderful program that exposed us to the latest developments and thinking in the US agri & food tech ecosystem. We kicked off week one with the World agritech Summit in San Francisco where more than 1000 people from around the globe networked and discussed the latest and greatest in all things agritech. Following the summit we headed to Salinas Valley, the ‘salad bowl’ of the USA where the vast majority of leafy vegetables are grown. We were able to see first hand how farmers were adopting new technology as well as hearing their challenges with issues such as water access, labour shortages and regulatory constraints. Week two was a 5 cities in 5 days tour of the Midwest. St Louis was our first stop followed by Kansas City, Manhattan, Lincoln and Des Moines. We were exposed to a range of players in the AGri & food sectors including Multi national corporations, world leading agri reserach institutes and universities, incubators, start ups & thought leaders in innovation precincts which are playing a key role in driving innovative outcomes for the agricultural sector. Seeing first hand how the US agricutlural sector is integrating technology based solutions into the market place provided the travelling cohort with great insight into potential opportunities for the Australian agrifood tech market as our own ecosyem continues to develop. One of the great benefits of participating on missions is the connections made with your fellow travellers. This trip was no different and great friendships were made and I have no doubt that the strength of these new found relationships will lead to many opportunities to collaborate on future exciting opportunities.