Aussie AgTech champion given international honour

Brandon How

The chief scientist of the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre and former University of New England Distinguished Professor has made history as the first Australian to receive a prestigious AgTech award from the International Society of Precision Agriculture.

Applied Physics Professor David Lamb was awarded the Pierre C. Robert Precision Agriculture Award at the 15th International Conference of Agriculture in Minnesota in the US. He was previously nominated for the award in 2010.

During his 25-year career in precision agriculture, Professor lamb has led more than 40 research and design projects and championed the concept of smart farming. He led the launch of Australia’s first SMART Farm at the University of New England in Armidale and helped to establish the Global Digital Farm at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.

Professor David Lamb

Professor Lamb highlighted the work of all Australian scientists in the field, and highlighted the importance of the field.

“It is a privilege to have been nominated by my international peers, and I want to recognise and acknowledge the important role played by many Australian scientists over the past 30 years,” said Professor Lamb.

“Australia is one of the most challenging places to grow food. Our farming environment provides a great opportunity to test and validate agtech aimed at improving water and fertiliser use efficiency, sustainability, productivity, and workflow.

“Before we all started on this journey in the 1990’s, precision agriculture as a discipline didn’t even exist. Meeting the challenges of food production today and into the future requires the marriage of STEM and agriculture and that is what precision agriculture is about.”

He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of New England as well as a Visiting Professor at Charles Sturt University and the University of Technology Sydney. Professor Lamb has also worked on several reviews of the challenges and opportunities faced by telecommunications in rural and regional Australia.

Before starting his role at the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), he spent three years at the CRC for Spatial Information, now FrontierSI, as the science director for agriculture, natural resources, and climate change.

Professor Mark Trotter of CQUniversity paid tribute to Professor Lamb and his pioneering career in precision agriculture.

“David has been at the forefront of precision agriculture research in numerous fields. He gave me my first start in the field of PA, as he has done for many young researchers, and this award recognises his significant contribution globally,” said Professor Trotter.

Professor Ian Yule of New Zealand-based PlantTech Research Institute also paid tribute to Professor Lamb and highlighted his willingness to help students and staff.

Every year, a Pierre C. Robert Precision Agriculture Award is awarded to one senior scientist and one young scientist. The winners are selected by the Award Committee of the International Society of Precision Agriculture, who also receive a Plaque of Achievement and USD$1000.

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