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Fred Searle

BY FRED SEARLE

Hartpury uni to develop digital innovation farm

Gloucestershire university and college to build farm to advance agricultural technology, data and security

Hartpury uni to develop digital innovation farm

The design of the Digital Innovation Farm

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Hartpury University and Hartpury College have announced plans to create a Digital Innovation Farm to help meet global demand for new technology in farming.

The development will include the National Centre for Agricultural Data Management and Interpretation, to assist the industry in advancing agricultural technology, data and security.

The first phase of this 10-year vision is already under way, with the construction of a £2 million Agri-Tech Centre, aimed at enhancing innovation in the farming industry.

Opening in autumn 2019, the centre will provide farmers, students and organisations with access to the latest commercial technology.

It is supported by a number of leading land-based organisations, including the NFU, AHDB, Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) and the National Sheep Association (NSA).

Using Hartpury’s on-site commercial working farm and new purpose-built facilities, farming businesses will be able to design, develop, evaluate and promote their new products or systems.

Russell Marchant, vice-chancellor and CEO of Hartpury University and principal of Hartpury College, said: “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 within 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, continues to improve productivity and develop our cyber and digital offer to compete globally.”

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