Ararat is soon to be home to a new cutting-edge research facility that will explore value-added opportunities to grow the local agriculture sector.
The Ararat Jobs and Technology Precinct is being delivered as part of a partnership between Ararat Rural City Council and Federation University Australia.
The project reactivates the Federation University Campus in Laby Street, Ararat with five senior research positions and Council’s economic development team creating a business incubator for the region.
Ararat Rural City CEO, Dr Tim Harrison thanked the Minister for Education and Member for Wannon, The Hon Dan Tehan MP for joining today’s announcement.
“We’re extremely grateful to have the support of Dan Tehan who recognises that the cutting- edge agribusiness research we deliver in Ararat is going to boost value beyond the farm gate,” Dr Harrison said.
Federation University Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Duncan Bentley highlighted that Ararat was the prime candidate to host the new research facility.
“Federation University has a proud record of engaging in robust strategic partnerships that benefit the communities in which our campuses are based, and beyond.
“Research is in our DNA, and we thrive on collaborations that value the knowledge and insight the different parties bring to the table.
“The agricultural diversity surrounding Ararat, combined with its extensive infrastructure, make it an ideal location for the research, training and commercialisation activities that are needed to drive strong economic returns.
“Universities have a critical role to play in the prosperity of their local communities and we offer the best pathways to higher education and employment in regional Australia.
“Working in partnership with local industry and the Council, we’re going to build on that here in Ararat.”
Mayor of Ararat Rural City, Cr Jo Armstrong who farms fine Merino wool, fat lambs and broadacre crops said the research offers new pathways to collaborate and diversify.
“Many of our local families are generational farmers, who have a strong sense of the contribution they make to the community,” Cr Armstrong said.
“Working with the land has shaped our resilience through the trials and tribulations of drought and other seasonal impacts.
“At a time where there is a lot of global volatility and uncertainty, we need to find more ways for businesses to work together, diversify our farming products and create access to new markets.”
Ararat Chief Executive, Dr Tim Harrison said value-added research in agriculture had little presence in Australia but offered huge opportunities to grow the economy.
“When we talk about value-adding we’re looking at ways to increase the value of products we produce locally at every stage of production,” Dr Harrison said.
“Too often we have local farmers assuming all the risk to grow food and fibre that is sold in raw form but becomes far more profitable during subsequent stages of production.
“Looking at research outcomes overseas there is huge potential for some fresh thinking and new ideas that will attract investment and retain more profits here.
“I’m confident that Ararat is soon to be known as Australia’s premier location for advanced agriculture research, where we stood up to transform our economy from price takers to price makers.” Dr Harrison concluded.
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