Aspiring exporters start their Export Ready journey; upcoming March events in the Central Highlands for the agriculturally-inclined; and contemplate plants doing things we never would’ve imagined in this Smarty Plants podcast…

Twelve aspiring exporters and business leaders met for their first workshop in Emerald at the end of January with guest presenter Diane Tipping, Chair of the Export Council of Australia and experienced exporter. With grains, beef, cotton and other products represented, the group completed module 1 and 2 of the 10-module Export Ready International Trade Program, which covered an introduction to growing a global business and selecting the right market. The group move on to their next two modules in early March covering legal contracts and IP, and freight and logistics. Many Australian SMEs and mid-size companies find global business challenging and need assistance to navigate the complexities and opportunities. CHDC is pleased to support our local businesses with this high-quality program, with assistance from the Australian Government Building our Future program.

Upcoming Events

There are heaps of upcoming events in the Central Highlands for those who are agriculturally-inclined, starting with a double header:

Wednesday 6 March: Kicking off at 8.30am, CHDC’s Economic Futures Forum will focus on regional industry growth, industry and businesses growing together and building business readiness. Speakers include the Honourable Mark Furner MP, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development & Fisheries; Brad Foster, Regional Manager, GrainCorp; and Paul Higgins, Futurist, Emergent Futures; and many more. Register here.

Wednesday 6 March: SwarmFarm is holding a Field Update in the afternoon at ‘Bendee’ Gindie to discuss field results from the past two years of trials as well as development in robot-based individual weed chipping and microwave treatment for hard to kill weeds. RSVP by 4 March to Joc at

You might have seen the great new video released by SwarmFarm promoting not only its innovative business but also other progressive businesses in the Central Highlands, including Colorada Cotton and Emerald Turf. If not, you can watch it here on their website.

Friday 8 March: CHDC will be attending CHRRUP’s Future Food & Fibre Forum; You can register here. There is still the opportunity for students and educators to apply for a bursary to cover the cost of attending. If you know anyone who would be interested, please encourage them to apply by contacting CHRRUP on (07) 4982 2996 or emailing

Wednesday 20 March to Friday 22 March: Last but definitely not least is the CHAA Roadshow, which is back in 2019. (Yes, the Central Highlands Accelerate Agribusiness initiative is on the road. It’s not a workshop about roads, however we’ll welcome all who come!) Last year we travelled south from Rolleston, Springsure and north to Capella; this year we’re going east and west, visiting Dingo, Comet, Emerald and Anakie. Meet and chat with the CHAA Strategic Advisory Group and the CHDC and DAF Rural Economic Development Teams. Receive an annual update on production and business data trends across key commodities for the Central Highlands, and opportunities for agribusiness in 2019. Attendance and meals are free, but RSVPs are essential. Find out more and register here.

Smarty Plants Podcast AKA Plant Cognition

Thanks to Glenn Rogan from Australian Super Cotton who shared the link with me for this 43-minute, free RadioLab podcast called Smarty Plants, which is my all-time favourite to date…
Do you really need a brain to sense the world around you? To remember? Or even learn? Well, it depends on who you ask. This podcast explores the surprising feats of brainless plants. Along with a home-inspection duo, a science writer, and some enterprising scientists at Princeton University, RadioLab digs into the work of evolutionary Australian ecologist Monica Gagliano, who turns our brain-centred worldview on its head through a series of clever experiments that show plants doing things we never would’ve imagined.

Listen here and enjoy!

Contact Agribusiness Development Coordinator Liz Alexander for more information E: or M: 0429 471 511.

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