THE untapped potential of the North's agricultural industries was in the spotlight at an inaugural producers forum in Townsville this week.
About 180 producers from across the region attended the first North Queensland Agribusiness Futures Forum, where about 20 industry experts provided insights into how the region can better position itself to take advantage of industry trends.
Townsville Enterprise Policy and Investment Director Michael McMillan said the forum was well received and TEL was looking to make it an annual event.
"We had over 18 speakers in total from across the country focusing on varying topics including aquaculture to emerging technologies through to agricultural efficiencies," Mr McMillan said.
"The focus was very much on demand lead production to product marketing and identifying how North Queensland primary producers respond to those demands moving forward."
Mr McMillian said getting the younger generations interested in careers in agriculture was also a topic of discussion.
"A focus was how does the agricultural sector retain the younger generations and we had some young people speaking so enthusiastically they were really inspiring to look at were opportunities exist to value add... through improving yield to mitigating waste."
Minister for Northern Australia Senator Matthew Canavan gave an update on Hells Gate Dam and announced that TEL would lead the charge to undertake a business case on the proposal.
"Mr Canavan's main point of topic was to appoint Townsville Enterprise led consortia to undertake the Hells Gate Dam business case opening up the potential for 50,000 hectares of high value, high yield agricultural land and what that means for agriculture across the north.
"He spoke about the importance of North Queensland looking toward key Asian markets and how to efficiently achieve that with critical infrastructure and ports to provide connectivity into those markets."
Mr McMillian said AgForce had also provided an update about flood recovery for graziers in the west.
"There is significant work yet to come replacing upward of 600,000 head of cattle and 50,000 sheep, not to mention hundreds of kilometres of fences, it will be a long way back."
Mr McMillian said TEL was encouraged by the numbers at Wednesday's event.
"It strongly suggest agriculture has a bright future in the region."