Farmers are being urged to attend Australia's largest agricultural technology showcase next year, as industry aims to bridge the divide between the startup and the customer.
Attracting over 1,100 participants to Melbourne, the inaugural EvokeAg 2019 focused on showcasing Australian agrifood technology startups to the world.
Next year, organisers AgriFutures Australia aim to switch focus, hoping to showcase the latest technologies from startups, corporations and research body's to a potential customer base.
AgriFutures Australia managing director John Harvey said the program for EvokeAg 2020 was designed to bring farmers along on the agtech innovation journey.
"To have a vibrant agrifood tech sector we need to have our farmers engaged and driving it, farmers need to demand solutions to their problems," he said.
"We will have more farmers on stage and will be profiling some of the producer led innovations.
"This is a fabulous opportunity for farmers, to not only see innovation happening in Australia but also to hear and see the innovation coming out of other parts of the world."
Mr Harvey said there was a significant business and cultural divide between many startups and the farming sector which could be addressed through better exposure between the industries.
"We know there are startups who have solved problems that don't actually exist in the real world, because they just haven't connected closely enough with farmers and customers," he said.
"Farmers aren't used to interacting with startups, it is a different process and can be quite foreign.
"Farmers are used to the technology they try out being pretty well proven before they take it on, however what we are seeing with startups is they get the beta version out there and work with the customer to refine it.
"It's quite an exciting process, but a very different process to how we have innovated in the past."
Mr Harvey said growing Australia's agrifood tech sector benefited farmers and the Australian economy.
"Over the last five years the investment in agrifood technology across the world has gone from about $2.5 billion through to about $16.9bn," he said.
"That is pretty rapid growth and a massive investment is occurring."
Highlights of the two-day EvokeAg 2020 program include speakers on supply chain traceability, producer led innovation and agtech investment.
Sponsoring the event for its second year, Elders managing director and CEO Mark Allison said the partnership is an ideal fit to mature the innovation ecosystem and take the industry to new heights.
"Elders has been fostering agricultural innovation and driving its adoption with farmers for 180 years," he said.
"Businesses like ours have day-to-day, mutually beneficial and trusted relationships with producers - and I believe we are playing an increasingly vital role in connecting them with relevant research and development solutions."
EvokeAg 2020 will be held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne on the 18th and 19th of February 2020.
Tickets are available online, with discounts available for farmers, students and groups.