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On-farm conference provides unique discussions around sustainability in farming

 

Sustainability, technology, and innovation in farming were the focus of Agri-EPI Centre’s Annual Conference last month at Shimpling Park Farm in Suffolk. The event brought together over 100 guests from across the agriculture sector, from farmers and growers to tech developers, academics, and other sector representatives, for a day of discussions and networking.

The day, entitled ‘The path to sustainable farming continued: the role of precision technology’, began with introductions from host and farmer, John Pawsey, Agri-EPI’s CEO Dave Ross, and journalist and conference chair, Anna Jones.

Dave Ross said:

“It’s a relief to get back in person. There’s nothing better than actually meeting people face to face to have networking discussions, discuss the problems that are topical, and think about solutions to those problems.”

Fabia Bromovsky, Director of the Global Farm Metric at the Sustainable Food Trust took the floor as the conference’s keynote speaker to discuss the question: what exactly is sustainable farming? She explained that we lacked a common understanding and that where definitions exist, they often overlooked the interconnectedness and diversity of our farm systems.   She set out the need for a common language, a framework that recognises this holistic system and identifies where impact occurs.

She acknowledged the important role of technology to support farmers with this.  Farmers already collect lots of data, but with a consistent set of measures, in-common to all farm assessments, technology can provide solutions that make it easier to collect. Technology can enable farmers to protect their data, share data between consenting users, improve performance, and reduce time and costs.

She maintained the power of a common framework is it would provide a consistent baseline of data, the DNA of the farm, that can underpin supply chain transparency, green investment, and food labelling.  Governments, markets, and the financial sector can then reward producers who are delivering genuine benefit to the environment and public health and shift the balance of financial advantage towards more sustainable systems.

The farmer speakers were up next, with a panel made up of four of Agri-EPI’s innovation farmers, including Sophie Alexander from Hemsworth Farm, Jo Franklin from Kaiapoi Farm, John Pawsey from Shimpling Park Farm, and Ian Beecher-Jones from JoJo’s Vineyard.

They discussed the challenges within the agriculture sector including resilience to weather events, net zero goals, and price volatility, and how uncertainty in policy can affect the ability for some farmers to innovate as much as they would like to. Other topics discussed included how sustainability is inextricably linked to profitability, the need for a business mindset as a farmer, and the methods the farmers use to progress towards their sustainability goals.

The tech panel included developers Howard Wu from Antobot, Jack Wrangham from DroneAg, Jim Wilson from SoilEssentials, and James Brown from Earth Rover. Their discussions centred around how to make technology accessible to farmers, how to better understand farmers’ priorities for innovation, and how to attract more youth to agriculture with the use of technology.

Lastly, bridging the gap between the farmers and the tech developers, the final speaker panel included Calum Murray, Head of Agriculture & Food at Innovate UK and Agri-EPI speakers including CEO, Dave Ross, CTO, Trisha Toop, and Head of Engineering, Eliot Dixon.

Calum Murray explained:

“What we do at Innovate UK is try to make things happen that wouldn’t normally go ahead. First and foremost, we have to understand what the challenges are. We need to identify those areas that will deliver the greatest impact and give us value for money and give value to the UK economy”.

Dave Ross said:

“We are in an industry that has huge challenges and huge opportunities.”

The speaker sessions were followed by a networking lunch and farm tour around Shimpling Park Farm headed by John Pawsey.

John explained:

“We’ve been using the Skippy Scout Drone. There’s a huge amount to be looking at and I have to say, huge thanks to Agri-EPI and to Skippy Scout, because even though we can actually physically go out and look at all those things ourselves, because it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to go out and get that data, if you have a drone that can go out and get it for you, then why wouldn’t you do that?”

Guests were thrilled to be back in person discussing sustainability within the food supply chain, agri-tech solutions, and innovation in farming.

Ian Beecher-Jones said:

“I think today was very much about the grower, very much about the farmer.”

Calum Murray said:

“It’s been terrific to get back on farm and hear first-hand exactly what farm businesses are having to face.”

Agri-EPI Centre is the UK’s leading centre for precision innovation in farming. They help to deliver profitable and productive solutions to empower more sustainable farms and specialise in connecting knowledgeable experts and new solutions across the agricultural sectors.

Get in touch about opportunities at team@agri-epicentre.com

Farm walk brings together agri-tech community at Upper Nisbet Farm

   

   

 

This month Agri-EPI hosted another successful on-farm day in Scotland at one of their innovation farms, Upper Nisbet Farm, in collaboration with farmers Robert, Jac and Andrew Neill.

Agri-EPI members and representatives from across the agri-tech sector met up for a farm tour and day of networking, discussions, and precision tech demonstrations.

Autonomous grain storage monitoring company, Crover, showed a live demo of their grain swimming robot.

Lorenzo Conti, Founder and Manging Director, explained:

“The main aim is to help farmers like Rob, but also grain storage operators and grain merchants, to store large quantities of grain to maintain the quality of their stock, to better plan their businesses, and also to improve the health and safety of their operations”.

KEENAN, a respected leader in sustainable and profitable farming solutions focused on maximising feed efficiency, demonstrated their mixer wagon in action. Datamars, who enable the harnessing of data to measurably improve productivity and quality of life for livestock farmers, demonstrated their Tru-Test range. And John Deere, leading manufacturers in agricultural machinery, discussed their GPS and data collection tractor technology.

Farmer Robert Neill rounded out the day by leading a trailer ride to view the arable fields and cows and calves.

Ross Robertson, Head of Mixed Farms at Agri-EPI Centre, said:

“This kind of in-person networking and collaboration is invaluable to us as an organization, as it allows us to engage with our members and farmers alike to get genuine feedback on the products we are involved with. As we all know it has been a difficult past couple of years for all businesses in the sector, and getting back on farm and meeting face-to-face at events like this will help everyone progress in what they are trying to do in benefitting the Agricultural sector”.

As a key, government-backed player in the agricultural sector, Agri-EPI Centre has been able to enlist a network of farms spread throughout the UK to participate in the Agri-EPI Farm Network.

They equipped these farms with a suite of precision sensor technologies to measure variances across every dimension of food production – quality, productivity, wastage, and more. From there, they are able to begin implementing the technologies and innovations that will change the future of farming, and assess the ways in which they can work together to bring these ideas to full commercial viability.

Lead sponsor for Scottish animal health, agritech & agriculture event announced

The A3 Scotland conference, the country’s first dedicated global event dedicated to the animal health, agri-tech and aquaculture (AAA) sectors, is delighted to welcome the world’s largest animal health company Zoetis on board as its Platinum Sponsor.

“The organising committee for A3 Scotland 2022 is thrilled to have Zoetis as our Platinum Sponsor. As a global leader in animal health, aquaculture and agri-tech, Zoetis is the perfect partner and we look forward to working closely to ensure A3 Scotland 2022 is a success,” said  Lawrence Brown, Veterinary Surgeon and Consultant and Innovation Manager for Health at Edinburgh Innovations, co-founder of the event alongside John Mackenzie, CEO of the Roslin Innovation Centre.

“”Zoetis’ shared enthusiasm for driving innovation, investment and collaboration across AAA has been hugely encouraging and their commitment to A3 Scotland 2022 demonstrates the important role that Scotland will play in the future of sustainable food security and animal health.”

A unique AAA-sector event

The inaugural non-profit event is being organised by the Roslin Innovation Centre, part of the University of Edinburgh, in partnership with the Life Sciences Scotland AAA Industry Leadership Group. The Group represents numerous organisations across Scotland, including: Scotland’s Rural College, James Hutton Institute, Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre, Scottish Association for Marine Science and UK Agri-Tech Centres CIEL and Agri-EPI Centre.

While the event was initially planned for September 2020, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic until April 2022. The conference’s theme is ‘transition to net zero’, bringing the latest research and development from across the AAA industries to investors and policymakers from around the world to discuss strategic partnerships and sustainability.

About Zoetis

Zoetis is a global animal health company with over 65 years’ experience delivering quality medicines, vaccines and diagnostic products to businesses from veterinarians to livestock farmers. With biodevices, genetics tests and precision livestock farming complementing their offering, Zoetis’ dedication to supporting the care of animals made them an ideal partner for the animal health, agri-tech and aquaculture conference.

As a world leader in cutting-edge animal health technology, drawing on both on-the-ground experience of their technical and veterinary specialists, Zoetis is committed to the development of agri-business and the sustainability and longevity of agriculture

Sarah Heming Zoetis Public Affairs Director for Northern Europe said: “We are delighted to be supporting such an important event in Scotland and we are most definitely looking forward to having the chance to be there in person with many other great minds tackling the challenge of transitioning to net zero. Join us in Edinburgh for some productive discussions.”

To join the conference and find out more about the event, visit our events page.

A3 Scotland 2020 rescheduled due to COVID-19

A3 Scotland is postponed to 2021

As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Organising Committee for A3 Scotland 2020 has made the difficult decision to postpone its inaugural event, which was due to take place from 30 September to 1 October 2020. Given the ongoing uncertainty, the Committee took the view that it would be impossible to go ahead with international gathering, built around face-to-face networking and site tours.

We are hugely disappointed to have to postpone the inaugural A3 conference but take comfort from the fact that the fantastic support shown by our sponsors and delegates will be maintained for the rescheduled conference. Depending on progress in easing lockdown restrictions, we now plan to hold the event on 21 and 22 April 2021.

It is with great regret that we have had to reschedule what promised to be a fantastic international gathering bringing together key organisations across animal health, agri-tech and aquaculture. We know there has been huge enthusiasm for the event but the health and safety of our speakers, sponsors and delegates is of our highest priority.

We are pleased to say that the rescheduled event will offer the same strong programme based around the theme of ‘Transition to Net Zero’, with an exciting and engaging line-up of committed thought leaders from across industry, science and policy. If you are interested in being involved as a speaker, sponsor or delegate, do not hesitate to get in touch and be sure to follow on social media for the latest updates.

In the meantime, the Committee will be working hard to ensure they maintain momentum in planning and promotion. We are confident that the delay to the event will not dent what promises to be a highlight of the 2021 conference calendar.

Future updates about A3 Scotland can be found online at www.roslininnovationcentre.com.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support. We look forward to seeing you in 2021!

The A3 Organising Committee
Lawrence Brown (Consultant and Veterinary Surgeon), Richard Mole (Moredun Research Institute), Neil Clelland (Scotland’s Rural College), Lyndsay Chapman (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock), Andrea McColl (Highlands and Islands Enterprise), Yoni van Breukelen (Agri-EPI Centre), David Telford (Knowledge Transfer Network) and John Mackenzie (Roslin Innovation Centre).

Tag Archive for: networking

Midlands Agri-Tech Hub networking breakfast

Agri-EPI will be hosting a networking breakfast at their Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub in Newport on 7th December from 8:30-10:30PM.

Use this opportunity to chat and get to know each other, fostering new connections and opportunities for collaboration within Agri-Tech.

This free event is open to members and non-members and includes a breakfast roll!

Member community Special Interest Group: Accelerating robotic systems for agriculture

Agri-EPI invites members, including Farm Tech Circle members, to attend a special interest group online forum: Accelerating robotic systems for agriculture.

The special interest group is an opportunity for members to join in forward thinking discussions, build community networks, and engage with other tech companies and farmers. This in-person event will be taking place at Cranfield University on 17th January 10AM-1PM, and is aimed at facilitating open and honest conversations around how robotics can address specific challenges for farmers.