Newsletter #7: September 2022

I wanted to give a quick shout out to all our Hub Members, Network Partners, supporters and community who have all shown extraordinary support of the Hub and on ground activities that we are trying to achieve. This month, we have been reaching out again to all who have contributed to the Hub to enable the Program Leads to run their activities. I’ve had many meetings this month, some with large Research and Development companies, industry leaders and smaller community groups, and I look forward to meeting with more of our partners and supporters in the short term. 

Our Agricultural Innovation Program is fully underway with a number of activities in progress. Supported by Farmers2Founders, one activity in full swing is our Hatch Pre-Acceleration Program. We are looking for big ideas to solve agricultural challenges within TNQ. The key focus of this pre-accelerator program is to validate an idea with real customers, form a 6-month roadmap to launch a product into the market, and give you the confidence to take the leap and start a new business venture. You’ll find more information below about the 6-week program in an upcoming information session.

As well as completing their drought resilience program activities, the Program Leads and Nodes have been busy compiling a list of their regional priorities which we have now published on our website. These priorities will help those who are applying for the Drought Resilience Innovation Grants to better understand what issues need to be solved, and what practices farmers need to build to maintain their drought resilience in our area.

Keep safe and well,

David Phelps, Director

TNQ Drought Hub Director, David Phelps

TNQ Ag Innovation Hatch Program Underway

Applications are now open for any individual or team who has an agtech idea that helps to make a positive impact for the agricultural industry within TNQ. The online program includes weekly group sessions and 1:1 business coaching but best of all, it’s FREE!

These agtech ideas could be across a range of sectors relevant to the region such as sugar, beef, dairy, vegetable, citrus and tropical fruit and involve different types of technology including:

  • Hardware and Implements
  • Software ideas
  • Process or device type ideas
  • Service based ideas

The application process is easy. 

To apply for the 6-week program, simply complete the online application form before 9th October 2022. The program launches on the 31st October 2022.

Free Information Session
To find out more, join the team for an info session where we talk you through our Hatch program and help you find the right fit for where you are in your agri-food and entrepreneurial journey. To register for this free webinar visit: Pick the Right Program for You.

Got questions? Send us an email at 

Hub Highlight

Congratulations to Sustainable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (SATSIE) Program Lead, Dr Allan Dale who had the opportunity alongside Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and Global Landcare to launch the book “Building Global Sustainability Through Local Self-Reliance: Lessons From Landcare”.

The main launch was held in Sydney last month at the welcome reception of the 2022 National Landcare Conference. The book explores the grassroots revolution in environmental management and agricultural extension through landcare by neighborhood groups. It also explores how this concept can be used to tackle global problems such as climate change and post-disaster recovery.

Allan has spent the better part of 5 years collaborating and editing with 31 chapter leads and co-authors to bring this book together. You can order the book from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

Dr Allan Dale at the book launch for Building Global Sustainability Through Local Self-Reliance: Lessons From Landcare

Know someone who wants to be involved?

Whats Next?

Check out our Events calendar to see what’s happing in the agricultural industry around Tropical North Queensland and the country. Some upcoming events to keep and eye out for include;

  • Fair Farms National Conference & Awards, October 14
  • Clemont BeefUp Forum, October 29
  • TropAg International Agriculture Conference, October 31 – November 2

11th Australasian Soilborne Disease Symposium, 1-5 August 

James Cook University and the TNQ Hub were a joint bronze sponsor of the 11th Australasian Soilborne Disease Symposium – “Soil Health, Plant Health and Global Health” at the start of August in Cairns. The conference included a week of workshops, field trips and speakers discussing the impact soilborne diseases are having on the livelihoods of growers. The conference allowed for the TNQ Hub’s Regional Soils Coordinator, Dhiraj Gajera to talk to attendees about the National Soils Strategy which prioritises soil health and strengthens soil knowledge and capability for those within the agricultural industry.

Dhiraj Gajera (third from left) with conference attendees

Queensland Agworkforce Summit, 3-5 August

Building Human Capacity (BHC) Program Lead, Dr Jane Oorschot attended the virtual Queensland Agworkforce Summit last month to explore the future growth of the Queensland agriculture sector. The key themes and identified areas of focus from the Summit (Adaptability, Attraction, Retention and Skilling) have been mapped out alongside the BHC Program themes which will help grow and develop our regions workforce capabilities.

International Science & Environment Festival, 18-20 August 

BHC Program Lead, Dr Jane Oorschot and Ag Innovation Program Project Officer, Lauren Tapp recently attended the inaugural International Science and Environment Festival in Cairns. The festival provided an opportunity for Jane and Lauren to meet with students, scientists, elders and other stakeholders to learn and discuss collaborative ideas around protecting the Far North Queensland environment and supporting the region’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through TNQ Hub program activities.

Program Lead Jane Oorschot and Project Officer Lauren Tapp, courtesy of Lauren Tapp TNQ Ag Innovation Program

2022 National Landcare Conference, 24-25 August 

TNQ Hub Director, David Phelps and SATSIE Program Lead, Dr Allan Dale attended the 2022 National Landcare Conference in Sydney. The team heard from experts on topics such as environmental and climate action, cultural land management, sustainable farming and emerging environmental markets for landcare which all have direct ties to the TNQ Hub’s regional priorities. The conference gave the team an opportunity to network and discuss ideas for collaborate projects that aim towards building drought resilience. In addition, Allan was a key speaker at the conference which included the launch of his book titled “Building Global Sustainability Through Local Self-Reliance: Lessons From Landcare”.  

Director David Phelps with James Walker, Andrew Stewart and Doug Allpass

Northern Australian Food Futures Roadshow, 30-31 August 

TNQ Hub Director, David Phelps and SATSIE Program Lead, Dr Allan Dale also both recently attended the Food Future Roadshow hosted by the NT Farmers Association in Mareeba. This two-day roadshow provided updates on what is happening in agriculture in Northern Australia and gave David and Allan the chance to present on behalf of the Hub to attendees.

The roadshow has led to further opportunities to consolidate a north Australia partnership particularly around horticulture information access.

SATSIE Program Lead Dr Allan Dale presenting

Apply Now! Grants and Programs

It must be grant writing time again, here’s a few that are open now.  If you need a Letter of Support (LoS) from the Drought Hub, please email and provide some details about your application and how it applies to future drought resilience and we will supply a LoS.

  • Agricultural Innovation Hatch Program – The TNQ Ag Innovation Hatch Program is a pre-accelerator pathway designed for innovators with a product or idea that solves an agricultural challenge in the tropical north Queensland region. Help us find innovative solutions to TNQ’s biggest agricultural challenges! Applications are now open: Find out more.
  • Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships – Applications are now open for the 2022 Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships as part of the Queensland’s Government’s vision of creating jobs and business opportunities in the future economy. The Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships support Queensland based early-career and mid-career researchers to undertake innovative research in partnership with industry. Find out more
  • AgriFutures Rural Women’s Acceleration Grant – The new AgriFutures Women’s Acceleration Grant program aims to foster growth and development in women involved in Australia’s rural and emerging industries, businesses, and communities. Seven Australian women per annum will be granted with a learning and development bursary (not cash) of up to $7,000 for professional development to enable them to bring their idea, cause or vision to life. Find out more
Fletcherview Research Station

TNQ Drought Hub Nodes

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