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Event details

The Role of AgTech in Food Security

  • 5 Apr 2017
  • 17:30 - 19:30
  • Holding Redlich 555 Bourke Street Melbourne
  • 50


  • Guest tickets purchased prior to day of event.
  • Member tickets purchased prior to day of event.

Registration is closed

We’re a land abundant in food. In fact, we produce enough food today to feed around 60 million people.

But that state of abundance can quickly diminish due to the very real threats of climate change and environmental factors, resource constraints and supply chain interruptions or contamination and disease.

Global food demand is forecast to increase 60% by 2060 and as the seventh largest global exporter of food we play a critical role in contributing to global food security. Massive innovation within the sector is required to deliver on this demand, a huge component of which will come from AgTech.

In this event we will be discussing:

  • Food security challenges we face in Australia
  • The impact AgTech developments are having on these challenges – including improving yields, sustainable practices and nutritional value
  • How we can scale solutions to have a global impact
  • Barriers AgTech businesses are experiencing within the sector – including funding, collaboration with research institutions and access to farmers for testing and trials

Event partner - Holding Redlich

Ticket price includes drinks, light refreshments and a copy of the event report. 


Sarah Last - CTO and Cofounder, MimicTec

MimicTec is an ethical agriculture startup working in the poultry industry by developing technology to save farmers money though changes to the rearing of chickens. Their flagship product not only positively impacts key production metrics for farmers such as feed efficiency and power utilisation, but also inherently improves the welfare of chickens.

Sarah has a background in animal health and agriculture and studied a masters degree at Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship as part of the inaugural cohort. Towards the end of the masters degree, Mimictec was formed in partnership with Eleanor Toulmin. Since then the team have built and tested a proof of concept prototype, filed a provisional patent for use of this technology across all production animal species and are now working in partnership with farmers and engineers to scale up the product and test on farms.

J.Matthew Pryor - CTO, Observant

Matthew was the Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Observant, an Australian agricultural technology start-up success story.

Established in 2003, Observant’s original mission was to use technology to manage scarce agricultural water in drought-hardened North Western Australia. Success and lessons learned have seen them expand to provide award-winning irrigation solutions for all types of farming operations throughout Australia and expansion into many countries including the US market. That success has led to Observant recently being acquired by Jain Irrigation, a world leader in irrigation technology.

Matthew is in high demand as a speaker and advisor due to his expertise in building and scaling an agricultural technology business, taking the business through many growth challenges, and exit through a trade sale to an international buyer. Following the acquisition, Matthew has taken on the role of CEO and CTO of Jain Agriculture Services Australia. Matthew grew up in country Victoria.He earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Science from RMIT.

Andrew Gregor - AWB Strategy & Business Development Manager, Cargill Australia

Since moving into the current role in late 2013, Andrew has helped the team develop the AWB business strategy and implement new products for its grower customers. Andrew has particular responsibility for Crop Insurance, Market Advisory Service, innovation and technology adoption within the business.

Andrew joined Cargill via the takeover of AWB in 2011. Andrew was then the General Manager of GrainFlow, AWB’s Storage and Handling business. Andrew helped develop the business case for GrainFlow in early 2001, select and build the 22 grain receival sites and was National Operations Manager before becoming the General Manager in 2008.

Prior to joining AWB, Andrew held management roles within BHP Billiton in their central Queensland Coal operations and CSR Sugar (now Wilmar Sugar) within their Sugar Milling operations.

Andrew has an MBA from the Melbourne Business School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from Queensland University. He grew up on a mixed cropping and livestock farm in Queensland, Australia.

Dr Markandeya Jois - Senior Lecturer at Latrobe University

Mark graduated B.V.Sc. from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India in 1979 and M.V.Sc. from the same University in 1982. He was awarded a PhD degree from the University of Sydney in 1986 for his work on amino acid metabolism in ruminants.

Mark took up a position as Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada in 1986 and was appointed Assistant Professor (Research) in the same department in 1989. He spent a year in the University of Melbourne as Research Fellow before joining the teaching staff at La Trobe in 1993. He held the position of Director, Central Animal House, Latrobe University from 1997 to 2004 and served as Head, Department of Agricultural Sciences, La Trobe University from 2012 to 2015.

He has published more than 50 peer reviewed scientific publications. His current research interests include the application of sensor technologies to improve productivity of ruminants including dairy cows and sheep; beneficial effects phytochemicals with a particular emphasis on the role of culinary herbs and spices in disease prevention and dietary and pharmacological approaches to the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.




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