Construction work is now well under way on the £2 million Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre – Tech to Plate Project, aimed at enhancing innovation in the farming industry.
The state-of-the-art facility will provide Hartpury students and the wider farming community with access to the very latest smart farming techniques and equipment.
The project features three key buildings – the Agri-Tech Hub, Biosecurity Building and Livestock Handling Unit – to be used for hosting industry events.
Ben Thompson, Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre Project and Industry Engagement Manager, said: “We’re extremely pleased that construction work is on track and that our ambitious plans are well on the way to becoming reality – it’s a tremendously exciting time for everyone involved in the project.”
The Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre – Tech to Plate Project, based on campus at Hartpury’s commercial farm, will open to Hartpury students in September, ahead of an official opening for the wider farming community next year.
The Agri-Tech Hub will provide visitors with access to key information and case studies relating to the latest technology and innovative ideas, which will be available commercially across the beef, sheep and dairy sectors.
Visitors will also be able to trial the technology themselves through an interactive tech-dashboard.
The Biosecurity Building will highlight how farmers can protect their businesses from disease transfer, which is becoming increasingly difficult to control, through the introduction of modern biosecurity measures.
The Livestock Handling Unit will provide visitors with opportunities to observe practical demonstrations of the latest commercial technology in a real farm environment.
Ben Thompson added: “Having come from a practical background in livestock farming – I have managed on dairy farms and sheep and beef units – I’m a great believer in embracing well-proven technology whenever practically possible.
“As well as being a fantastic education facility for our students, the Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre will help farmers drive innovation and bring new ideas to the industry through their own practical experiences.
“Our events will cover key management topics and will include talks from industry professionals and technology manufacturers, as well as practical demonstrations.
“These will take place at Hartpury’s on-site farm, Home Farm, and farms around Gloucestershire.
“Farmers can then apply what they have gained and experienced to contribute to improved profitability and sustainability of their own businesses.
“We want to encourage farmers to provide feedback on all aspects of the Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre, including the areas in which they would like further research and innovation to focus on.”
The project, which secured £1 million in matched government funding through GFirst LEP, is aimed at improving the productivity of livestock and generating higher quality products for consumers.
It will be an education, training and research hub for Hartpury University and Hartpury College students, the wider education sector, regional producers and processors.
Picture: Ben Thompson, Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre Project and Industry Engagement Manager