Urban farming and an agricultural workforce

Westpac use agtech to build culture

Machinery
Westpac, national agribusiness manager, Steven Hannan attended the AgriFutures EvokeAg conference, held in Melbourne, representing the bank as a founding partner in the event.

Westpac, national agribusiness manager, Steven Hannan attended the AgriFutures EvokeAg conference, held in Melbourne, representing the bank as a founding partner in the event.

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Westpac use agtech to build culture

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Large companies, particularly banks, are often accused of loosing touch with their customer base in rural areas. In an effort to address this, big four bank, Westpac has reshaped its regional agribusiness workforce while using agtech to bring the city closer to its food producing cousins. 

Westpac, national agribusiness manager, Steven Hannan said Westpac's agribusiness division had been on a journey for five years to ensure it was connected to farming's future. 

"We have reshaped our workforce, the average age of our team nationally has reduced from 51 to 39.

"95 per cent of our team come from a farm or grew up in a rural or regional area and have a personal connection to agriculture. 

"Also 80 percent of our team live and work within 300 kilometres of where they grew up, so they are passionate custodians for their community and people. 

"They understand the industry, because it is where they came from."

Mr Hannan said he bank had also worked hard across its city offices to ensure their was an increased connection to farming by way of focusing on urban food production.

"Between Barangaroo and Kent street we have over ten thousand employees in two buildings," he said.

"To help the people in the city who don't have that connection to farming in rural or regional Australia to really get excited about what is possible. 

"We have moved to calling it a food revolution and have built our own farm inside the building."

Built in partnership with Mirvac and Farmwall, Mr Hannan said the urban farm, situated in the Kent Street offices, was both a organisational cultural tool and a potential commercial opportunity, supplying micro-greens to surrounding cafes. 

"We can educate people about what is possible, it gets like-minded and passionate people connected to collaborate, they are coming in with all different skills from all different parts of the organisation to help," he said. 

"We bring them together as a tribe then we can start to move forward and interact with our customer base in a very different way then we have in the past."

Westpac's urban food wall technology was on display at the AgriFutures EvokeAg conference, held last month in Melbourne.

Mr Hannan said Westpac saw events like EvokeAg as a fantastic way to support capacity building and the future of agriculture.

"It's a way to bring Australian agtech to the world," he said. 

"We also have had a long association with AgriFutures through the Rural Women's Awards and the Horizon Scholars."

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