Will Hodgman

Premier of Tasmania

9 February 2017

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water

Modernising Tasmania's agricultural research as hemp growth trebles

The Hodgman Liberal Government is setting a new direction for advancing agricultural research in Tasmania.

Assisting farmers to innovate, adopt new technologies and improve on-farm productivity is critical for growing farmers’ profits, Tasmania’s economy and jobs in regional areas.

During 2017 we will be working closely with farmers, researchers and agribusiness to develop a white paper: Growing Tasmanian Agriculture – Research, Development and Extension for 2050.

The white paper will guide future Government investment, industry partnerships, and set a contemporary framework for achieving the productivity improvements required to grow the value of agriculture tenfold to $10 billion by 2050.

Through our AgriFood Plan we have already invested an additional $2.9 million into collaborative research and development initiatives; delivering the water for profit program to maximise returns from irrigation, poppy mildew research, precision agriculture through controlled traffic farming and grape quality and vineyard productivity projects. This is on top of our annual $5 million investment into our own world-class Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture.

The industrial hemp industry is also benefitting from innovative research, backed up by the Tasmanian Government simplifying and streamlining licensing requirements, making it easier for farmers to grow the crop and creating the jobs of the future.

By cutting red tape we have seen significant expansion with licenses to grow industrial hemp more than doubling this season and the crop area trebling to nearly 300 hectares.

A partnership between the Industrial Hemp Association of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture with support from the Tasmanian Government, today’s field day at the Forthside Research Farm is demonstrating the latest research, crop varieties and trials for improving yields from industrial hemp in Tasmanian conditions.

This is a great example of the type of industry-relevant research, practical engagement with farmers, and industry expansion that we want to stimulate more of through the white paper.

The process for reviewing Tasmania’s approach to Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) follows considerable engagement with the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, DairyTas, Tasmanian Agricultural Productivity Group, Fruit Growers Tasmania, Wine Tasmania, agribusiness and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture itself.

The first step will be a Green Paper released in April for community consultation, to be followed by the White Paper later this year and it is a further demonstration of our commitment to farmers and agriculture which is a driver of jobs in regional Tasmania.

More Media Releases from Jeremy Rockliff

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