LEAF Innovation Centre status for Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre gives agricultural research a boost


The Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre, part of Hartpury University and Hartpury College, has joined LEAF’s (Linking Environment and Farming) vibrant network of Innovation Centres and demonstration farms alongside some of the UK’s leading research establishments and most progressive farmers.

The announcement comes as the institution celebrates its 75th anniversary and during the same month as the centre hosts a Change Management Programme for the sector. The new status will benefit students as they prepare to become industry leaders, policymakers, managers and agriculturalists, as well as the wider farming community.

The move highlights Hartpury’s strategic partnership with LEAF and a focus to accelerate the scientific knowledge exchange around more sustainable farming practices. The partnership will help to increase agricultural research outputs and help disseminate Hartpury research within the farming industry.

Projects conducted at Hartpury are informing the future of UK animals and land management with developments in carbon auditing and sensor technologies to monitor livestock and land.

At the LEAF Innovation Centre launch in April, current studies exploring the microbiome of cattle, tracking animal behaviour and the development of a green herd breeding index designed to help farmers identify their most sustainable cows based on key traits were highlighted. Hartpury’s commercial Home Farm is part of government land management schemes including Countryside Stewardship, Sustainable Farming Incentives pilot and ELMS test and trial, which are helping to inform national policy.

The Agri-Tech Centre, founded in 2020, provides experience of smart farming technologies and has formed a strong network of farmers who wish to stay up to date with agri-tech developments. A wider Digital Innovation Farm on site also includes a Tech Box Park, a hub for start-ups looking to carry out research and access research and knowledge exchange alongside Hartpury’s university and college resources.

The centre has recently received funding from Monmouthshire County Council through the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund in support of its ‘Technology and Local Knowledge’ (TaLK) project.The scheme will see Hartpury further expand the reach of its pioneering Agri-Tech Centre for smart technology and data-driven research, delivering a package of free digital support services for Monmouthshire based farming businesses. Designed to support farming professionals within the county to unlock, understand and utilise the digital landscape of their businesses, the innovative TaLK project will provide one-to-one digital health checks, expert tech advice, training, business support, networking and knowledge sharing opportunities.

Professor Matt Bell, Director of Agriculture at Hartpury University, said: “We’re hugely proud to become a LEAF Innovation Centre and are pleased to see that our commitment to providing farmers with the latest research, knowledge and technologies has been recognised.

“The LEAF Network offers a powerful platform for all of us to accelerate innovation through shared knowledge and hopefully implement sustainable farming practices more quickly and successfully.

“Partnerships, public engagement, knowledge sharing and innovation are all key components of our agricultural research strategy. Being a LEAF Innovation Centre will help our wide-ranging research to reach farmers and organisations, as well as benefiting our students as they prepare to shape the future of our industry when they graduate.”

Join us for LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday

Hartpury will once again take part in LEAF Open Farm Sunday on 11 June and this year will be particularly special given the 75th anniversary celebrations.

Farming’s annual open day giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about farming and the countryside, and farmers the chance to talk about what they’re so proud of - British food and farming.

Open Farm Sunday has grown in popularity with families returning year on year to explore the farm. To ensure we continue to deliver a fun and informative event for all visitors we are introducing a ticketing system. The event is still free to attend but you must secure a ticket in advance. A limited number of tickets will be available in advance, book today: Open Farm Sunday | Events | Hartpury University and Hartpury College.