Coalition commits $6m to build first beef AgTech hub at Belmont Station

Updated May 10 2022 - 11:41pm, first published May 6 2022 - 11:30pm
BEEF POWERHOUSE: Michael Guerin, AgForce CEO, John Baker, AgForce vice president, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, Senator Bridget McKenzie, Professor Nick Klomp, CQU vice-chancellor and president. Photo: Supplied

The Coalition government have committed $6 million to build a new research and AgTech innovation hub at Belmont Station near Rockhampton.

The hub will be built in partnership with CQUniversity and Ag Force.

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The facility would connect livestock producers with cutting edge researchers, commercial providers and training facilities to support innovation and adoption of new techniques.

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Minister for Regional Education Bridget McKenzie, said the $6 million will be invested to deliver the first AgTech Hub focusing on the beef industry.

"The Belmont Research Station has been the premier research station for the north Australian beef industry for over 60 years," Ms McKenzie said.

"Our commitment of $6 million to build a research and AgTech innovation hub will deliver new tools and practices with real world applications to drive productivity and growth in the Australian beef industry."

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry welcomed the announcement and said the Coalition government is continuing to support a critical research station that delivers significant benefits for the region.

"Central Queensland has some of the best beef on the planet, that's why it is fundamental that we continue to invest in research and innovation hubs for the future of the beef industry" Ms Landry said.

CQUniversity (CQU) vice chancellor, professor Nick Klomp, said the investment would allow CQU and AgForce to establish an internationally renowned agricultural research facility.

"This would be the only AgTech hub in Australia focusing specifically on northern livestock production, but will also be the only facility of its kind located in the tropics anywhere in the world," Professor Klomp said.

AgForce CEO Mike Guerin said the facility represents the way of the future for livestock producers.

"Our partnership approach with CQU puts producer needs and industry impact at the forefront of all R&D efforts," Mr Guerin said.

"By combining producer insights with researcher expertise, the Belmont Station Research and Ag Innovation hub will help to test and deliver the tools that farmers need to boost productivity and sustainability.

Funding for the project will be directed to the refurbishment and development of station facilities including a community and industry engagement facility; new stockyards, dip and loading facilities; property-wide highspeed internet connectivity; multi-species feeding infrastructure; individual animal monitoring facilities; crop, irrigation and post-harvest processing and storage equipment; new workshop and laboratory facilities.

The facility would complement existing CQUniversity AgTech research expertise and facilities focusing on horticulture in Bundaberg.

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