With the spotlight still firmly on the health of the iconic Great Barrier Reef, Project Catalyst continues to be a beacon of hope to those striving to reduce nutrient runoff.
From humble beginnings with 19 sugarcane growers in 2009, 78 families from Mackay to Cairns are inspiring their peers and the next generation to implement the latest innovations to achieve their goals.
Earlier this year in Cairns, the Project Catalyst forum attracted local, national and international media attention. Following an invitation from the Coca-Cola Foundation, award winning photojournalist Roff Smith travelled through North Queensland to capture the people and landscapes of Project Catalyst growers, along with the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef.
Over four days Roff accompanied Catchment Solutions, Agricultural Innovations Co-ordinator, Craig Davenport on a road trip which covered Mackay, Burdekin, Hinchinbrook Island, Tully and Cairns.
“Roff has been all over the world with National Geographic, documenting many great places and events and it is a testament to the work of the Project Catalyst growers that we are able to record their efforts in a similar way,” said Craig.
With improvements to approximately 150 billion litres of water flowing through these catchments to the reef, the future is looking very positive.
“Growers like those in Project Catalyst are passionate about the sustainability of their industry and a future where their children can enjoy a farming lifestyle. Growers know their land and are always looking at more efficient ways to use it, optimise chemical and fertiliser usage and improve productivity which will always inspire innovation. By supporting growers to add some assessment of the trials and ideas, Project Catalyst is able to assist in the adoption of new ideas more broadly and increase the benefits obtained across the industry through faster adoption.”
The Project Catalyst 2017 forum will return to its birthplace in Mackay, and will run from February 26-28.
Focusing on futuristic innovation, the forum will be open to anyone interested in new technology and results.
“Project Catalyst Forum is an annual opportunity to share the proactive management practices that are being trialed by growers, discuss new directions in farming e.g. robotics, remote data collection or water and chemical efficiency and meet some of the industry partners who help fund and support this great program. The growers also get to present in front of their peers and exchange information on these innovative programs.”