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The agriculture production-chain and intellectual property

Wheat Silo in Australia
Wheat silo in Karoonda, South Australia.

Some of the major challenges facing agriculture in Australia in the future are likely to be the long-term decline in the farmers' terms of trade (prices received to the prices paid); the role of productivity growth in maintaining cost competitiveness; and the relatively high volatility in yields and prices. These challenges are exacerbated by the likely direct and profound impacts of climate change and variability. A part of the sustainable response to these challenges will be to adopt improved technology across the production chain beginning with selecting the best starting materials (the best plant varieties, the best animal lines, and so on) and then applying the best evidence based technologies (the best additives, devices, machines, and management approaches) through production and eventually delivering the product to the market. Each of these responses and solutions will rely on significant technological adoption with high levels of investment, invention, design and creativity and, consequently, high levels of intellectual property content. One of the challenges for Australia's agricultural future will be to optimise intellectual property from the perspective of both consumers and sellers of intellectual property protected products and services domestically and to/from the rest of the world. This project examines the technology used in farm production, examines the kinds and ways intellectual property is exploited and tries to find optimum outcomes for Australian farm production.