Australia is one of the driest countries on earth — and Drought Venture Studio is a fresh $10 million initiative looking for ways to make life a little easier for farmers toughing it in the hottest parts of the country by fostering drought resilience initiatives.
Run by Beanstalk AgTech, in partnership with the federal government’s Future Drought Fund, Drought Venture Studio is looking to develop drought resilience products and services for farmers, alongside delivering commercial returns for Australian farms, agrifood investors, and innovators.
The Studio is calling on start-ups, farmers, and investors to get involved. Eight lucky startups will get an opportunity to get taken to the market, while hands-on commercialisation support will be provided to nearly 100 others.
Beanstalk AgTech director Cal Archibald says that Drought Venture Studio has the potential to unlock solutions too some of the most pressing and destructive agricultural challenges.
“Necessity has made us amazing innovators. We want to capitalise on this knowledge and expertise to deliver real-world outcomes for our farmers, and commercial returns for those along the agri-innovation value chain,” he says.
“Imagine if we could perfectly predict the micro-climate of each paddock or utilise winter rain in the summer months or even increase our soil water holding capacity tenfold.”
“The time to start planning for the next drought is now — that’s why this work is so important. We’re looking forward to getting on with it.”
Mr Archibald wants anyone with new and exciting ideas to drought-proof Australian agriculture to come forward — it doesn’t matter if they come from a farm, laboratory, or office.
“Perhaps you are a scientist working on new technology to better capture and store water on farms, or an investor that wants to back local farmers and local innovations,” said Mr Archibald.
“We want to hear from anyone with a drought-related challenge that needs solving or a drought-resilience solution. There is no time to waste.”
Expressions of interest for Beanstalk Drought Venture Studio will open to innovators in March 2024.