Gloucestershire’s Hartpury University and Hartpury College have announced they are to create a digital innovation farm – which will include the National Centre for Agricultural Data Management and Interpretation – to assist the industry in using agricultural technology, data and security.
The 10-year project is already underway. The first phase features the construction of a £2 million Agri-Tech Centre, which is due to open this autumn, and will provide farmers, students and organisations with access to the latest commercial technology.
The centre is already supported by a number of leading land-based organisations, including the NFU, the AHDB, the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers and the National Sheep Association.
Agricultural businesses and professionals will be able to use Hartpury’s on-site commercial working farm and the new purpose-built facilities to design, develop, evaluate and promote new products or systems.
Russell Marchant, vice-chancellor and CEO of Hartpury University and principal of Hartpury College, said: “This is an exciting time for Hartpury. These plans highlight the scale of our commitment and our ambition to be leaders in shaping the future of digital farming in the UK and beyond.
“Our aim is that, by 2030, the digital innovation farm will have expanded and grown into a state-of-the-art complex at Hartpury, attracting leading agri-tech companies and contributing to increased productivity in Gloucestershire and the UK.”
David Owen, chief executive of GFirst LEP, added: “Hartpury’s plans for a digital innovation farm present a great opportunity to further bolster Gloucestershire’s unique position as a leader in agri-tech.
“It’s vital that Gloucestershire, and the UK, in general, continues to improve productivity and develop our cyber and digital offer to compete globally.”