Connecting Farmers with Technology | Agri-EPI Annual Conference 2020

Agri-Tech | Connecting Farmers with Technology

Agri-EPI Annual Conference 2020

6 October | 9am - 3.15pm

Watch Below

Changing the future
of Agriculture

Agri-Tech | Connecting Farmers with Technology

6 October | 9am - 3.15pm

Watch Below

Agri-Tech | Connecting Farmers with Technology

6 October | 9am - 3.15pm

Watch Below

Enabling agri-tech innovation together

Agri-Tech | Connecting Farmers with Technology

6 October | 9am - 3.15pm

Watch Below

Collaboration is key
to innovation

Agri-Tech | Connecting Farmers with Technology

Agri-EPI Annual Conference 6 October 2020

This event is supported by

To find out more about Landmark Systems, download the Landmark Systems leaflet.

Read Lloyds Bank Shaping Agriculture’s transition to a net zero future report here:

This year’s virtual conference ‘Agri-Tech Connecting Farmers with Technology’

The conference brought together all involved in the agri-food supply chain. The conference explored agricultural legislation, policy, sector challenges, adoption of technology and agri-tech developments and disseminated agri-tech findings and successes, while also providing a focus toward the opportunities and challenges for the sector in the coming year. It was great to connect Agri-EPI Centre’s key collaborators: farmers, processors, retailer, technology SMEs and start-ups, academics, engineering and manufacturing companies.

Welcome & Keynote Address

Join Agri-EPI Centre CEO Dave Ross, our keynote speaker NFU Vice-President Tom Bradshaw, representatives from Lloyds Bank, Landmark Systems as we gain insight into the theme of the day.

Sponsors’ Address


Session #2: Drivers and Barriers to the Uptake of Technology

We hear first-hand from farmers about the motivations to uptake technology on farms. This open panel discussion will give a candid insight into the real issues which farmers face and a first hand experience of the barriers that may impact on the speed of uptake.

Have your say and join the discussion via Twitter.


  • Sophie Alexander, Farmer, Hemsworth Farm
  • Tom Bradshaw, Vice-President, NFU
  • Duncan Forbes, Head of Dairy, Agri-EPI Centre
  • Antony Yousefian, Ag-Tech Director, Bardsley England

Session #3: Horizon 2020 Farm to Fork

Helen Sweeney, Horizon 2020 National Contact Point, Sustainable Agriculture and the Bioeconomy, Innovate UK

Policy & Investment

Session #4: Future Direction of Agricultural Policy & Investment

 A  live panel discussion as we hear from key policy makers, banks and investment companies on the direction of agricultural policy and sector challenges in a post-covid Brexit world. Find out what investment companies are backing and how that aligns with future developments of the agriculture bill.


  • Chris Danks, Innovation Lead, Innovate UK
  • John Grealish, Senior Investment Advisor, Agri-EPI Centre
  • Carl Woodwards, Area Manager for Agriculture, Lloyds Bank
  • Dr Andrew Francis, Chief Economics Adviser, NFU

Processing & Retail

Session #5: Agri-tech’s Role in the Agri-food Supply Chain, Retailer, Processor and Consumer Perspectives

The session focused on the next stages of the agri-food supply chain,  it will focus on processors and retailers within the supply chain. This will highlight the motivations and priorities of large retailers in supporting the development of agri-tech. This session will explore how purchasing power can influence greater sustainability across the agri-food supply chain.


Chair – Lisa Williams, Business Development Director, Agri-EPI Centre

Future farming

Session #5: The Future of Farming: Automation & 3D Imagery

Jonathan Gill,  from the world renowned Hands Free Farm will present on the findings of the project to date to give insight into the future opportunity with autonomous vehicles on-farm. We will also hear from our Head of Dairy Duncan Forbes about the use of 3D Imaging and video imagery to asses cow health.

Session #6: Hackathon Winners in response to COVID’s Impact on Farming

The Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the agrifood sector in many ways. On 23-24 September, Agri-EPI organises a Hackathon Event to bring forward solutions on the impact lockdown restrictions and social distancing has had across Europe on mobilising the agricultural workforce and its support services. Today, we announce the winners that will become the focus of the year-long ‘product launch programme’ delivered by Agri-EPI.

Session #7: Summary & Closing Remarks

By Vince Gillingham, Chairman of Agri-EPI Centre

Panel line up

Andrew Francis read geology at the University of Durham, followed by PhD research in palaeontology and applied statistics at the University of Birmingham. Andrew then worked as a capital investment accountant for a number of years, qualifying as a chartered management accountant (CIMA). Andrew joined the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) in 2012 as senior adviser with NFU Sugar. He moved to his current position as the NFU’s chief economic adviser in July 2016. His role encompasses all economic aspects affecting farming, the environment and the wider rural economy. Andrew’s role is focused on the development of the NFU’s Domestic Agricultural Policy and future support methods for the sector, particularly in relation to farm productivity and volatility mitigation.

Andrew Fearne is professor of value chain management at Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia. His research is focussed on the co-ordination of value chains, from field to fork. He is the founding editor of the International Journal of Supply Chain Management, author of over 100 articles, the 14th Adelaide Thinker in Residence and son of a Kentish pig farmer!

Ag-Tech Director of Bardsley England and Co-founder of Bardsley X, with a mission to produce fresh food that can reverse climate change. Passionate about systems thinking, innovation, and accelerating technology adoption. Career started in asset management in the city of London, swiftly moving onto the challenge of internationalising China’s leading investment bank, CICC. Angel investor with a strong focus on Agtech and Climate-tech.

Duncan Forbes has great record of experience in the Dairy industry. After several years in practical farming, Duncan moved into farm management consultancy and worked over twenty years as Managing Director at Kingshay. In this role for Agri-EPI Centre in Somerset, he is focussing on the development of the dairy research and demonstration facility for 180 cows combining robotic milking and feeding in a state-of-the-art building with precision grazing.

Helen has had a 25-year career in agriculture. She has worked in both advisory and policy roles in Defra and its agencies. She has also undertaken consultancy work in the private sector, covering a range of subject areas including agronomy, environmental management and farm assurance compliance. She started her current role with Innovate UK in June this year and is looking forward very much to meeting real people sometime soon.

During a 16 year career in alternative investments, John has held senior investment roles across both private equity and venture capital funds, sourcing and executing transactions. He has also held senior roles advising investors on transactions, strategy and value creation at McKinsey & Co, and most recently as a Principal at Bain & Co. He holds an M.A. in Modern History from Oxford University. John’s current role at Agri-EPI is to engage with the investor community and to help bring innovative agritech businesses together with sources of private capital.

Sophie manages a mixed organic farm of 420 hectares at Hemsworth in Dorset. Sophie is Chairman of Organic Arable and sits on the board of the CLA Agriculture and Land Use Committee and the Farmer and Grower Board of the Soil Association.

Tom has a small owned farm which is run alongside a larger contract farming business growing a range of combinable crops across 1450 hectares in north east Essex. Tom has represented the NFU from local branch chairman through to the National Combinable Crops Board which he chaired for two years and sat on the board for a total of six years.

Tom Bradshaw, NFU Vice-President

Join our conversation on Twitter

Catch-Up with the Twitter conversation on Twitter #AgriConnect2020