Five elements have been highlighted to propel agriculture on Eyre Peninsula into a strong and sustainable future as part of an ongoing roadmap.
Launched by Ag Innovation and Research Eyre Peninsula last week, the Vision 2050 covers governance, social, profitability, productivity, and environment and will aim to shape challenges and opportunities for future generations in the region.
During August and September, a wide range of farming and agricultural research stakeholders were consulted on their outlook of Eyre Peninsula farming into the future, which forms the basis of the Vision 2050: A shared vision for farming on the EP report.
AIR EP executive officer Naomi Scholz said the consultation work, driven and supported by AIR EP, the South Australian Research and Development Institute and the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board, was primarily undertaken to ensure priorities and investments into the region were recognised, consolidated, and planned for.
"Eyre Peninsula plays an important role in the state's agriculture industry, and we want to ensure this continues well into the future," Ms Scholz said.
"Long term planning such as this report ensures any research, development and extension priorities support and align with a desirable future for the region and the industry.
"This forward-thinking on potential pathways to success and likely challenges to be navigated, can benefit other groups aiming to collaborate, align and make a positive impact on living and working on the EP for decades ahead."
The report is the first of its kind for the Eyre Peninsula agriculture industry and will serve as a reference for a variety of local farming organisations.
"Having a report that targets future challenges and opportunities will be extremely useful," Ms Scholz said.
"The practical ways it can be used could include everything from a reference in grant applications, to climate change research, to infrastructure plans.
"It provides certainty and data when making decisions, particularly those with long term implications."
The plan will aid the farming systems group to work with research partners to create cohesive strategy and future-proof the region as it heads towards 2050 according to Cummins-based AIR EP chair Bill Long.
"I see no value in competing for funds with our own research partners when we can be collaborating and strengthening to deliver really good research outcomes," he said.
"We don't want to just be grabbing at any funding opportunity we can find and not having a clear strategy or plan.
"By creating a plan and aligning that with our research partners in SARDI and EP AG, we're able to be clear on our objectives and have compelling arguments to take to whoever we need to."
A major change in the landscape Mr Long highlighted was the decline in field day attendance.
Field days which would once have hundreds of growers in attendance no long reach those heights according to Mr Long, who believes good extension and follow up events would be key in reaching desired outcomes.
"With a field day we're moving people from ignorance to awareness of research," he said.
"Usually, not from awareness to intent just yet, but eventually you want them to go from awareness to intent, to perform and then to maintain.
"So ideally, we'd follow that up with a series of events that would help farmers move along, particularly with the complexity now in some of the changes to our farming systems.
"A new variety is relatively simple to adopt, but the complexity of getting of investing an extra million dollars in plant equipment to go on ameliorate farm right with a range of soil types and working through that process isn't.
"Providing that extension to support those decisions means we can move along those steps."
With the strategic plan now launched, Mr Long said the next step would be for board members to discuss the final report at a future meeting and develop an action plan.
"It's a strategic plan, and just like with AIR EP's own strategic plan, it will be ever evolving," he said.
"We see it now as an umbrella plan, and we now need to engage with others who want to work with us on this and make sure we're all aligned.
"Then we'll work out the mechanisms to do that and start developing working groups to deliver projects.
"It's not just about farming, there is the social element and we know without viable rural communities, we can't get workers because we don't have the other pillars like health, childcare and education that you need to create a healthy environment and that's something we can't tackle alone."