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Rose Judeh-Elwell joins Agri-EPI Centre as director of business development

Rose Judeh-Elwell has joined Agri-EPI Centre as the new Director of Business Development.

Rose comes from a proven sales and business development background having worked in both the public and private sector and within a number of different industries over a 14 year period including agriculture, engineering, and higher education. More recently, she was Business Manager for the newly formed School of Sustainable Food and Farming based at Harper Adams University overseeing all business development and partnership activity as well as day to day running of the school. Prior to that she spent a number of years working with companies active within the agri-food supply chain to either develop innovative solutions; or to identify the challenge areas where implementation of innovation and technology would support efficiency improvements and in turn increase productivity and growth.

Rose oversees the Business Development and Marketing & Communications functions within Agri-EPI Centre, driving forward growth and implementation of strategic direction. She has a deep understanding of the importance of science and technology as a key driver in addressing sector related challenges when working towards a more sustainable, efficient and innovative agricultural supply chain.

Dave Ross, CEO of Agri-EPI Centre, said:

“I am very pleased to welcome Rose Judeh-Elwell as Agri-EPI Centre’s new business development director. She is stepping into a critical front-facing part of the organisation and will help to build on the successes we have gained so far.

Rose will spearhead Agri-EPI Centre’s sales activity, develop relationships and services, oversee funding bids and keep the company at the forefront of agricultural innovation.

Rose will be heading up a very strong team and will bring fresh thinking on how to capitalise on the multiple opportunities we are encountering at present. Her background in commercial sales and business development, pro-active relationship management, and an excellent track record of consolidated sales growth will stand her in good stead at Agri-EPI Centre. Welcome Rose!”

Agri-EPI network explores data needs for farmers online

Agri-EPI Centre hosted a member community online special interest group titled What has data ever done for you, that brought farmers and tech developers from across the agri-tech sector together online to discuss data needs, successes and challengers for farmers.

The event was chaired by Eliot Dixon, Head of Agri-Tech (Engineering) at Agri-EPI Centre, and discussions were led by David Smurthwaite, Head of Dairy at Mackie’s of Scotland, and Jose Chitty, COO of Smartbell.

Jose Chitty began the conversation with an overview of his Smartbell project, an animal health monitoring and management system that provides unique data insights, focused on detecting health issues in calves. Smartbell makes it easy to gather data and present insights directly on a phone, and allows for farmers to spot problems faster and more easily, and create benchmarks for tracking changes and improvements on farm. This kind of data gathering can help to improve profitability, improve animal health, justify spending, and help to access funding.

David Smurthwaite, one of Agri-EPI’s innovation farmers, then took over the discussion to comment on the farmer perspective for using data and tech on farm. He uses Smartbell on his farm, and though he was cynical and had a hard time believing in the data at first, the app has improved and the system is working well for his team. For David, data needs to be user friendly, as implementing changes and getting an older team on board to use tech can be a challenge. He would like for the information to be more accessible but has very much started to rely on tech to aid him and his team in improving the welfare of their animals.

Discussion followed, where a number of questions were posed to the audience, and an array of thought-provoking answers were shared:

 

Q: What is the ultimate destination for this technology in the future?

A: Data transfer across the industry for benefit and joined up decision making, data that drives actions to help business, and a hand holder for farmers improving sustainability and profitability.

 

Q: What data sources are already vital for farmers?

A: Data associated with productivity, data that mitigates known risks, data that enables yield to be optimised, and data that provides efficiency on farm.

 

Q: What are specific challenges on farm that could be solved with data and information now?

A: Yield forecasting, connecting environment with individual animal performance, prediction rather than just alerting, investment, storing data, and statistical analysis for data.

 

Q: What is stopping farmers from getting the most information out of the data they have?

A: The data isn’t always the farmers but rather the equipment manufacturers, the data is too complex, farmers may lack certain skills or digital knowledge needed to understand the data adequately, farmers may not have enough time or have inoperable systems on their farm, and a lack on interoperability.

 

Q: What are disadvantages of using information and data?

A: Becoming over-reliant on certain companies and pieces of tech, the lack of accuracy of some data, or getting landed with the wrong application. Trust in the system needs to be ensured.

 

Q:Who should own the rights to the data from farms?

A: Farmers should own the data and be able to have a say on what is done with it, but secondary information could be owned by third party. Both parties should understand contractual laws and come to their own agreements, since data sharing is extremely important for the agriculture sector.

 

Agri-EPI will host their next member community special interest group in person at Cranfield University on 17th January, entitled Accelerating robotic systems for agriculture. Find out more here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/special-interest-group-accelerating-robotic-systems-for-agriculture-tickets-464983296557

International collaboration in agri-tech

Agri-EPI’s Business Development Manager, Duncan Ross, spoke at The Argentinian Embassy in London along with Agri-EPI Centre members: Ian Beecher-Jones from JoJo’s Vineyard, Marc Jones, Business Director at Antobot, and Emil Endres, Operations Engineer from Outfield Technologies, as part of the dissemination activity from the two Viticulture projects funded by Innovate UK and EIT Food.  They demonstrated the use of drone and robotic technology and the potential benefits to the viticulture sector to a delegation of visitors from the wine growing Mendoza region of Argentina, and the wider British Argentinian Chamber of Commerce. Agri-EPI’s Communications Officer, Tatiana Boyle, supported with the Spanish translation for the tech in viticulture video shown to the delegation.

This visit follows a trip to Argentina by Duncan and Agri-EPI’s Head of Crops, Claire Hodge, where they attended workshops related to the current state of UK Agri-Tech, and a conference on biofilms near Cordoba. They then travelled to Rosario to meet with numerous Agri-Tech businesses in the area to gain an understanding of Argentinian Agri-Tech, before finally visiting “Glimax” a company that researches and validates Agri-Tech from all parts of the globe to make tech adoption recommendations to their farmer clients in the agronomy side of their business.

Duncan said:

“This was a fantastic opportunity facilitated by the Department of International Trade, to build on the links we are developing with Argentinian contacts both in the UK and in country. I envisage future opportunities for Argentinian Agri-Tech companies to use Agri-EPI Centre hubs as landing pads, and for UK Agri-Tech companies to explore opportunities abroad.”