Hartpury secures £1 million investment for smart farming project

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Agriculture

Hartpury College and University Centre Hartpury, a leading provider of agricultural education, is set to make Gloucestershire the go-to hub for agricultural technology after securing funding for a new initiative.

They have been successful in securing £1m in Growth Deal funding from the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership to contribute towards a new Agri Tech Centre. The centre will be the hub for Hartpury to utilise the latest smart farming techniques, aimed at benefitting the county.

With the world population set to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, Hartpury will be playing their part in aiming to secure a sustainable future. Their ‘Tech to Plate’ concept will involve helping to improve the productivity of livestock and generating higher quality products for consumers.

The centre will provide diploma and degree students, employers, Hartpury staff and industry bodies with access to state-of-the-art technology facilities that will demonstrate how precision farming techniques can improve productivity and impact on the food on our plates. It will sit centrally as part of Hartpury’s successful on-site commercial farm.

Hartpury want to help make Gloucestershire the lead Agri-Tech county. The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) currently provides a start up base for new innovation, also using Growth Deal funding. Hartpury’s centre will provide the complementary live demonstration link for producers, processers and consumers, firmly putting Gloucestershire on the map for production-related innovation.

Hartpury Principal, Russell Marchant, said: “I’m delighted that this project will now take off. The future of farm productivity will rely increasingly on the application of technology to improve productivity. This is hopefully just the start of Gloucestershire playing a leading role in Agri Tech innovation and knowledge transfer into industry.

“Our aim is that the centre continually engages with both suppliers and the industry to ensure that new technologies are introduced and the centre is used effectively to demonstrate impact to agriculture industry. It will also enable us to continue to educate the next generation of agriculturalists so they’re up-to-date with the industry’s most recent technology. This will allow them to play a leading role in continuing to develop the industry.”

The new centre will be the latest in a string of campus developments for Hartpury, with the College and University Centre having invested over £20m recently in facilities. This includes a new £8.8m Sports Academy and Science Centre with new treatment suites, human performance and biomechanics labs, as well as a new sports hall.

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