Central Highlands Development Corporation

Driving growth & empowering business in the Central Highlands

eNews 11 June 2019 - AgFrontier kicks off this week


In this eNews: Queensland's first dedicated AgTech incubator AgFrontier kicks off this week!; Program now available for the From Paddock to Port Tour 1-4 July mission; Hooray for our Show volunteers; Free Emerald Workshop: Embracing Digital Innovation in the Agricultural Sector...

AgFrontier kicks off this week!

Spoiler alert: we're not going to tell you who they are yet... however, CHDC is very excited to be welcoming our inaugural cohort of ten innovators for the AgFrontier Regional AgTech incubator program. This is the first meet up for the group as they begin their 14-month journey in Queensland's first dedicated agtech incubator, based right here in Emerald.


Why are we running a regionally-based agtech incubator? We believe that businesses and individuals that work in the agriculture industry have the passion, knowledge and drive to create super start-ups which can go global. CHDC received 31 applications from across regional Queensland and northern New South Wales and looks forward to announcing the successful start-ups and spin offs at the end of this week.

The incubator program encompasses a broad program of events, co-working and intensive coaching. Our "ag-ventures" will have the opportunity to showcase their businesses at the AgTeCH events in Emerald 2019 and Mungindi 2020, as well as participating in a Global Linkages Mission to the USA. We are incredibly grateful to our investors who have made this amazing opportunity available: AusIndustry, Local Buying Foundation, Cotton Research & Development Corporation and Queensland Government Advance Queensland.

Follow the AgFrontier journey on Twitter @agfrontier or sign up for our regular communications through our website agfrontier.com.au - which will also be launched at the end of this week. We're putting the ag back in ag tech!

Full Program now available: From Paddock to Port Tour 1 - 4 July

A recent study published by Deloitte Access Economics has measured freight costs as the largest single cost item in the production of many Australian agricultural industries, amounting to as much as 48.5% of farm-gate cost. Freight costs were highest for grains at 27.5% of gross income, and fruit and vegetables at 21%. Everyone who operates from Central Queensland knows that cost of freight is particularly an issue in this region.


CHDC and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) are supporting producers to find transport efficiencies, and to improve port and connecting road and rail infrastructure through the upcoming tour of Northern and Central Queensland Port facilities.

From Monday 1 July to Thursday 4 July 2019, CHDC and DAF will run their second tour of the Port of Townsville (POT), Port of Mackay (North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation) (NQBPC) and Gladstone Port Corporation (GPC) facilities for a group of 26 producers, aspiring exporters and value chain members. The full program is available here.

As a direct result from last year's tour, one Central Queensland producer was able to redirect containerised mungbeans out of the Port of Gladstone, saving $50 per tonne on freight costs. As well, all Ports have responded to producer requirements and delivered a substantially greater focus on agribusiness capability as well as last mile road transport solutions.

As mentioned in previous eNews, CHDC will NOT be holding the Tour in 2020 - so don't miss out. Register here.

You can read AgriFutures' The Impact of Freight Costs on Australian Farms here.

Congratulations to our Emerald and Springsure Show Volunteers

Everyone has commented on what a great job the Springsure Pastoral & Agricultural Society, Capella & District Show Society, and the Emerald Show Society have done this year. Over the past few weeks, both regions have hosted another wonderful series of competitions such as wood chopping, baking, photography, handicrafts, flowers, home produce and livestock judging and a jam-packed entertainment schedule.

Shows are increasingly important in both regional and urban communities as one of the few genuine and enjoyable opportunities for agricultural producers and urban dwellers to connect. Super-powered by volunteers, Shows really do enhance our community spirit and enhance the knowledge of the agriculture industry.

For Emerald, it was their 90th Show. Not surprisingly given the dry conditions, the produce stand was down in numbers but still boasted some amazing dragonfruit, super large pumpkins, gleaming cotton samples and other quality fruit, vegetables and crop samples. A personal highlight for me was seeing visiting Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Michael McCormack adlib as MC of the Cotton Industry Picker Pull and encourage support from the crowd!

Springsure has a history worth celebrating too and this Show marked 152 years since its inception. The society's first exhibition was held on 21 June 1865 at Springsure. Although Springsure Show has