The future of farming: from the ground up

The future of farming: from the ground up

The event attracted a wide range of attendees from around the region.  There was plentiful opportunity to network and in addition a number of regional organisations supporting the farming innovation and business community were also in attendance (including Business Information Point, CREWW/South West Water, Devon Agri Tech Alliance, and Hartpury Agricultural College).Attendees heard from a variety of speakers who use technology and research to help inform, shape and improve long term productivity in the sector, delivering benefits including carbon management and resilience to climate change.  Funding opportunities were also showcased, including examples of resulting impact.

Keynote speaker on the day was David Fursdon. Originally a rural surveyor and for many years was a partner in a regional firm of land agents and auctioneers in the SW advising farmers across Devon and the wider South West, David’s breadth of experience is extensive and includes roles in Food, Farming & Countryside Commission, The Institute for Agriculture & Horticulture, Dyson Farming, the National Trust and beyond.  He is hands on too having been actively involved in his family’s mixed farming, landowning and tourism business in Devon since the 1980s.

LinkedIn: David Fursdon

The audience were able to see an excellent example of a sector related start up in the shape of Robotriks. Founded by Jake Gibson Shaw-Sutton in 2018, Robotriks is a robotics focussed R&D company set up with the aim of applying state of the art technology to various applications whilst not breaking the bank in the process.  Modern day technology is often seen as an incredibly useful, yet expensive tool. However, by applying a wide range of knowledge, speciality and experience, these boundaries can start to be pulled down. Things that may have seemed impossible, suddenly are far more approachable and attainable.

Website : Robotriks

By contrast to a young business, attendees were next able to learn more about the UNESCO North Devon Biosphere SMART Farm from director, Andy Bell.   The SMART Biosphere project is a UK first, seeking to create a landscape-scale environmental intelligence programme harnessing artificial intelligence (AI), big data, IoT remote sensing & satellite earth observation to build real-time and predictive models of the inter-relationships between the agri-food system's land-use, soil health/carbon, run-off, water quality, natural flood management and flood risks

Website: SMART Biosphere

Sonia Pietosi is the Business Development Lead for Agriculture at Satellite Applications Catapult. The Satellite Applications Catapult is at the heart of the satellite services revolution, driving take-up of space technology and applications to shape and sustain the world of tomorrow. This includes agriculture where its use aims to support the creation and development of truly sustainable global Agri-food supply chains empowered by satellite enabled solutions.

Whether it is ensuring ‘fit for purpose’ geospatial and ubiquitous technology solutions developed in the UK for use globally across arable, livestock and horticultural production, or supporting organisations to innovate,  co-create, demonstrate and deliver solutions that address global agri food needs, the Catapult works to unlock industry led commercialisation opportunities for satellite enabled products and services and be a bridge between UK space and agriculture.

Website: SatApps Catapult

Following an extended networking session which created a real buzz in the room, there was plenty more audience interaction to explore the sector’s challenges, opportunities and priorities with the panel of speakers who included Karl Tucker (non exec Chair of Yeo Valley Farms and also Chair of HotSWLEP), Chris Lyons (Innovation Lead for Agriculture for Innovate UK) and Robin Jackson (Director of the Rural Business School at Duchy College).  The session was led by Yve Metcalfe-Tyrrell, Project Director, Sustainable Earth Institute and part of the Devon Agri Tech Alliance project. 

Our final session of the day was from Ruth Murray, Associate Director at Gresham House Plc, a specialist alternative asset management group dedicated to sustainable investments across a range of sectors including renewables, waste management and social infrastructure.  Ruth's session looked at investing in the future of funding new tech and alternative farming methods, taking into account values and principles, investor preparedness and current opportunities. LinkedIn: Ruth Murray

We look forward to welcoming you on our next event. Responsible tech in Business. More on the following link


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