Smarter Farming in the Digital Economy Thu 3 May 2012 David O'Byrne Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology The Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology, David O'Byrne, today visited Agfest to help promote the Smarter Farming Project, run by the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association. The initiative is funded by the State Government's $1 million NBN Industry Assistance Package, to help businesses take full advantage of the National Broadband Network and create the jobs of tomorrow. "The Government has a well-researched strategy to diversify our economy by playing to Tasmania's natural strengths," Mr O'Byrne said. "The early roll-out of superfast broadband through the NBN is one of those clear competitive advantages, and the NBN Industry Assistance Package, is helping Tasmanian businesses make the most of it. "We know it's not just enough to have the new technology in the ground. Our traditional industries need practical support and information to help them use the NBN, and get a productivity or efficiency advantage from it. "The TFGA was one of four peak industry groups to share in $1 million under the program, and is using it to raise awareness and explore opportunities with Tasmania's agriculture community," he said. The TFGA has a number of initiatives underway, including: Regular regional community forums highlighting how digital technologies can be used, integrated and expanded with the NBN. Providing details in the TFGA weekly newsletter about relevant smart-phone applications and websites to help farmers run their businesses more efficiently. Planning several Smart Farm Field Days in mid-2012, to promote the benefits of the digital economy and using "smart" technology in agricultural. The Farmware smart-phone application developed by James McShane and Tim Bendall is an excellent example of the digital economy being used to support and enhance farming. The app lets farmers record and manage their farm data from the convenience of their mobile phone. "This simple, powerful tool is directly relevant to work in the paddock," Mr O'Byrne said. "It's an example of digital technology making farming more efficient and productive, and that's exactly what the NBN Industry Assistance Package is about," he said.