Newsletter #8: October 2022

Welcome to our latest TNQ Hub Newsletter. The team has been busy again this month collaborating with our network partners and members to ensure we are all strategically working towards the common goal of building resilience to future drought. A recent meeting with Hub Member University of Queensland and James Cook University highlighted potential collaborative opportunities including student placements, identifying current major research gaps and working with our Program Leads on research activities that can be delivered through the TNQ Hub in partnership with our Nodes.

Our Program Leads have been busy implementing their activities across the region. You can see updates on what they have been up to below. We are also looking forward to bringing on several new staff across our region including Technical Adoption Officers, a Digital Ag Innovation Consultant and an Ag Innovation Program Designer. These roles will help support the Hub and our Nodes to increase the regions knowledge, awareness and partnerships to improve overall drought resilience.

Keep safe and well,

David Phelps, Director

TNQ Drought Hub Director, David Phelps

Agricultural Innovation Update

A big welcome and congratulations to the final candidates that made it into the newest round of the Agricultural Innovation Hatch Program!

We are lucky to have a range of producers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and students as part of our cohort with some pretty cool concepts. We very much look forward to sharing their Agtech ideas and journey towards making a positive impact in our region.

Over the next 6 weeks, this team will receive insightful, challenging, pivot-inducing advice, coaching and feedback. These guys have decided to make their ideas a reality and we can’t wait to be a part of their journey!

The TNQ Agriculture Innovation Hatch Program is about changing the way you think. It gives you a timeless set of skills and helps you to properly contextualise and frame key decisions you make for your idea or startup.

A new round of applications will be opening soon so if you think you have what it takes to jump in and make your idea a reality – get in touch! Send us an email at

Transformational Agricultural Systems (TAS)

Building Human Capacity (BHC)

Recruitment is underway for a Data Analyst who will collaborate with our Node Drought Resilience Coordinators (DRC) to integrate local knowledge and available climate data. The Data Analyst will work within the TNQ Hub region to identify future drought risks and vulnerabilities through all available climate data sources including Bureau of Meteorology, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Department of Environment and Science.

Yvette Everingham presenting to growers

BHC Program Lead, Jane Oorschot has identified opportunities to develop resources such as profiles, professional training materials and information videos from key land care and climate industry experts to fill a gap in knowledge transfer. The development of these tools will help increase industry knowledge and resilience. Loss of expert knowledge due to retirement and career changes is something that has been identified across the agricultural industry as a risk.

Climate expert Professor Roger Stone at this years Science to Practice Forum

Sustainable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Enterprises (SATSIE)

The SATSIE team have been actively supporting indigenous-led businesses and events across the region including:

  • Keriba Building and Construction Program Business Workshop held on Thursday Island which provided information on finance, marketing, procurement and accreditation for existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander building and construction businesses
  • National Indigenous Business Month – Actions Today Impact Tomorrow workshop also held on Thursday Island aims to inspire and grow indigenous businesses

On the 16 November the SATSIE team is sponsoring the Indigenous Food and Business Expo in Cairns. The expo will give Indigenous business owners, artists, Native foods and programs within the Far North Queensland community the opportunity to meet corporate and government buyers, build business capabilities and to hear about factors impacting on the Indigenous business sector.

Hub Highlight

Regional Soils Coordinator, Dhiraj Gajera has certainly made an impression with the community over the last few months.

In our August newsletter we featured a wonderful comment from a local producer on Dhiraj’s passion for soil. Most recently, Rocky Creek Orchards in Tolga have expressed how excited they are to work Dhiraj and tap into with his knowledge in soilborne disease and interest in avocados. Well done Dhiraj!

If you would like to learn more about your soils contact, get in touch with Dhiraj today at

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 throughout the country. Some upcoming events to keep an eye out on are;

Apply Now! Grants and Programs

It must be grant writing time again so here’s a few that are open now.  The TNQ Hub can provide Letters of Support (LoS) to assist with your application. Please email details of your application and how it applies to future drought resilience to and we will supply a LoS if applicable. 

  • Grants from the Queensland Government of up to $100,000 are available for community-led innovative projects that reduce emissions, boost renewables and reduce energy usage and bills. The program is supporting locally based, community driven projects which encourage real change in Queensland communities. Applications close at 4pm Wednesday 7 December 2022. Find out more.
  • The Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund (BQBIF) supports established small and medium businesses innovate, realise their potential, and promote job creation in Queensland. The $24 million Enterprise Acceleration Fund (EAF) has been established to facilitate enhanced access to finance and employment creation by investing in innovative, early-stage Queensland businesses. Start-ups in Queensland who want to expand are urged to think about expressing interest in the EAF. Find out more.
  • TNQ Hub Member, Sugar Research Australia is inviting applications for research and innovation funding to address a series of key industry challenges. Proposed research and innovation initiatives should seek to solve industry-identified issues, engage multidisciplinary research perspectives, and aim to deliver outcomes within a reasonable timeframe. Applications close at 5 pm on Wednesday 2 November 2022. Find out more.

Are you looking for funding to enable your idea to become a reality? Visit the following Regional Development Australia initiative to find grants available in the TNQ Drought Hub region.

TNQ Hub has worked with our NRM Node and industry partners to develop regional priorities. These are a useful resource in writing grant applications. 

Fletcherview Research Station

TNQ Drought Hub Nodes

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November AgTech Insights

November AgTech Insights Welcome back to AgTech Insights! We continue to explore the latest developments, news, and opportunities in agricultural