Hartpury makes key appointments in drive to support agriculture industry

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Agriculture

Hartpury’s drive to keep UK farmers in touch with the latest technological advancements in the agriculture industry has taken another major step forward. 

The specialist institution has announced the six lead farming representatives for its recently launched Digital Farming Network, created by the Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre as a community of practice for UK farmers to receive support with the adoption and use of the latest agri-technologies.

The Hartpury Digital Farming Network will also further enhance work placement opportunities for agriculture students at Hartpury through its growing relationships with industry professionals.

The network, which is free to join and open to any agriculture business, will support members with key decisions associated with technologies and keep them up to date with latest developments from the Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre.

The network will also provide members with opportunities to take part in research and to trial and test the latest technological products and services.

In addition to being a part of this network, the appointed lead farming representatives – all successful farmers themselves – will share their views on the latest challenges and changes within their farming sector, and provide valuable insight to help steer the progress of technology and innovation.

The lead representatives are Alison Capper (Horticulture and Potatoes), Paul Westaway (Beef and Sheep), Robert Davies (Dairy), Sophie Hope (Pig and Poultry), Charlie Whitehouse (Arable) and Hartpury’s award-winning Farm Manager Andrew Eastabrook.

Agri-Tech Centre Manager Ben Thompson said: “We’re absolutely delighted to announce the appointment of six forward-thinking and innovative farming professionals as lead farming representatives for the Digital Farming Network.

“In addition to the support of the Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre, it is important to create a voice for the farming industry, to provide much-needed market insight for the latest innovations and technologies.

“Improving communication between tech-developers and tech-users, including insight into the challenges and changes on the ground, is vital in supporting the progress of technology development within the agriculture industry.

“The Digital Farming Network is strengthening the connection between innovation and real-world practice, and providing farmers, tech companies and Hartpury students with a collective voice in driving forward innovation and accelerating the production of viable long-term tech solutions.”

Arable representative Charlie Whitehouse said: “I am incredibly excited not only to be given non-bias support with the latest technologies as a member of this network, but also to share my views as well on its development within the arable sector as a lead representative.

“We will ensure we are connecting technologies with real farms, to tackle world challenges.”

Andrew Eastabrook, Hartpury Farm Manager, said: “Technology is a part of the core operations of the Hartpury farm, and being a part of this network is a huge opportunity to be supported with our use and adoption of technology as we are continually introduced to new advancements.

“I am looking forward to sharing our views and experiences as a lead representative but also hearing from others across different sectors.”

To find out more about the Hartpury Digital Farming Network, or about working with the Agri-Tech Centre, email agri-tech@hartpury.ac.uk

Picture: Top (left to right) Sophie Hope, Paul Westaway, Alison Capper; bottom (left to right) Robert Davies, Charlie Whitehouse, Andrew Eastabrook

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