The Australian agricultural industry is experiencing a bit of a digital renaissance, with the uptake of digital and innovative solutions set to have a real, commercial impact on the future of the industry.
The potential for emerging technologies in agriculture – or AgTech – to boost productivity, while underwriting a more efficient and sustainable industry, is something GrainCorp Strategy Manager Joanna Lang is particularly passionate about.
“It’s an exciting time to be in agriculture, thanks to emerging technologies that support the collection and analysis of data, but also have an eye to shaping a more sustainable future,” she says.
Jo’s passion in this space stems from growing up on a broadacre mixed-livestock and cropping property near Moora, in the wheatbelt region of Western Australia.
Her close involvement with the family farm provided a unique understanding of the resilience, adaptability and work ethic of growers to continually improve ways of working.
“I was a typical farm kid, willing to help Dad wherever possible and forever asking him questions that compared things back to the farm.
“I guess my farming upbringing imbued me with a problem-solving mindset and an interest in finding new ways of doing things.”
Following her passion, Jo pursued studies in agriculture and commerce, but without a clear understanding of what a corporate career pathway in agriculture could look like. She was delighted to discover a role within business development and strategy that related to agriculture and food production.
“I was pleased to discover a range of pathways within agriculture and that you don’t need to be on a farm to be included in the sector. Science and technology, in particular, are opening up a world of options for young people with a foot in both the city and the country.”Joanna Lang
Jo’s been with GrainCorp for three years and, as part of the strategy team, she’s incredibly passionate about finding ways to make agriculture more sustainable for the future, while giving value back to the industry she grew up in.
She believes investing and partnering with leading start-up technologies can achieve just that.
“I enjoy the outward focus of my role; trying to understand challenges and opportunities facing the next generation of agriculture, to help pave the way for a more sustainable future.
“Whether it’s investment in remote sensing technology, or the FutureFeed project, I believe GrainCorp has a role to play in driving sustainable and innovative outcomes for the industry – including partnering with AgTech start-ups to provide a more seamless experience for our growers and customers.”
“For instance, there’s lots of talk about how carbon farming can unlock value for growers, but it’s still littered with technical challenges. I’m passionate about looking at how we can help growers integrate carbon into their practices, and hopefully reward them for it.”
Recently, GrainCorp partnered with AgTech company Hone to support the development of mobile technology that will revolutionise grain testing methods for growers.
For Jo, GrainCorp’s investment in Hone’s technology also presents major opportunities in the carbon space.
“The benefit of Hone is that growers will not only be able to use the devices to analyse grain quality, but potentially soil carbon and carbon sequestration, providing carbon testing assurances at affordable prices.”
“This is just one way that we can partner with start-up technology to lead the way in sustainability and carbon offerings while supporting growers.”
When tasked with some of the industry’s most innovative and promising projects, Jo believes being flexible and open-minded is key.
“My role’s about embracing disruption and new ways of doing things, but that’s exciting.”