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Agriculture 101 – an introduction to the sector

September 17

Agriculture 101

Agriculture 101

This unique one-day introduction provides an overview of the agri-food industry, the challenges it faces and the opportunities for innovation. It is aimed at giving useful insights to those new to the sector and to players from other industries.

Agri-food production is a growing industry that offers opportunities for the application of technologies and services developed for and by other industries; however the successful implementation of these solutions requires domain knowledge.

This one day overview aims to:

  • Provide an overview of the main players and current challenges
  • Articulate the market opportunities
  • Offer ways to engage with the sector
  • Signpost next steps for those interested in developing prototypes and working with early adopters.

Sessions Include:

A Day In The Life Of A Farmer - Emma Kelcher, Technical Manager, Elveden Farms

An opportunity to walk a mile in the shoes of a farmer and learn about the myriad of critical management decisions – about crops, livestock, people, machinery, the environment - made hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and annually.

The Farmers' Network - From NFU to Peers - Tom Bradshaw, Chairman, Combinable Crops Board, NFU

Farmers are surrounded by numerous professionals, networks, salesperson and advisors. This is an opportunity to learn about the various channels of communications in which faremrs participate, and the chance to elarn more about the role of the National Farmers' Union.

Inspiring and equipping farmers to produce food and manae an enhyanced environment - Eliza Emmett, Upper Wensum Cluster Farm Group, Farm Advisor

As well as food producers, farmers are also responsible for management of the wider environemnt. Keeping soils, water courses and the mix of biodiversity healthy is a priority and propsed changes to the UK farm support system look set to change the balance by which farmers are rewarded for their work.

Why Farmers Talk About The Weather! - Chris Bell, Forecast Director, Weatherquest

So many factors affect the success of farming. Changes in currency rates affect the value of outputs, variability in overseas production can lead to shortages or over-supply which affect prices, and challenging weather during the growing season can see prices change accordingly.

Technology as an Enabler to Improve Agriculture - Stuart Hill, Technical Innovation Director, Hutchinsons

Forward-thinking farmers are already routine users of complex technologies, ranging from robotic milking parlours, to GPS-controlled traffic steering of farm machinery, data algorithms, drones and farm management software systems. This session gives and overview of the current state-of-the art and how it has already made a difference to on-farm efficiency.

The Food Systems of the Future - Emily Norton, Director of Research, Savills

Agriculture doesn’t exist in isolation; In the UK at least, it sits alongside cities, roads, infrastructure and manufacturing systems. Sourcing labour can be a major issue and the traditional structure of the industry means it can be difficult to “become a farmer” without a background in the industry or potential to join a family business. But new farming and production models are opening up the sector to those without a family history in the industry and providing new opportunities.

Regulation as a Driver of Agricultural Innovation - Rozzi Martin, Regional Technical Manager, Bayer

Regulation can be both a driver and a constraint to the adoption of new innovations but they are critical to help maintain and improve standards. Examples of this include the legislation around genetically-modified crops, and the withdrawal approval of certain crop protection chemicals, animal welfare requirements and food safety.

Financing Innovation; From R&D To Commercialisation - Calum Murray, Head of Agriculture and Food, Innovate UK

Entering new sectors comes with a risk, even for a validated, effective innovation that has been road-tested in another industry. There are a range of funding instruments to help de-risk the commercialisation of R&D and incentivise industry-academic collaborations.

Taking An Innovation to the Agri-Market - Stuart Hill, Technical Director, Hutchinsons 

One of the big questions for new innovations is the route by which they will address the target market. Direct to farmers? Via distributors? License or manufacture? Understanding how farmers decide how to adopt new innovations, who they trust to recommend new ideas is crucial to ensuring business success. 

Priority on-farm scenarios for creating value from data - Matthew Smith, Business Development Director, Microsoft

Agriculture is an increasingly exciting industry for technologists. The vision of the “Connected Farm” via the Internet of Things, use of sensors, imaging technologies, yield prediction modelling and robotics are likely to play a key role in the farm of the future.

It  would be of interest to:

  • Technology developers who view agriculture or horticulture as a potential market for their innovation
  • Researchers who are keen to forge better links with the industry, and want to understand how the sector (globally and in the UK) is structured and possible routes by which research outputs become adopted by end users
  • New entrants to the industry, possibly (but not necessarily) early in their career, who want to understand more about the sector, possible skills opportunities, and where best their interests and expertise may be deployed.

This workshop is sponsored and supported by Innovate UK.

Knowledge Transfer Network logoInnovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

We drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base. We’re an organisation of around 300 staff, drawn mainly from business working across the UK, with a head office in Swindon.

With a strong business focus, we drive growth by working with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation by connecting businesses to the partners, customers and investors and funding business and research collaborations.

Since 2007 Innovate UK have committed over £1.8 billion to innovation and across all sectors, and this has been matched by a similar amount in partner and business funding. We have helped some 8,000 organisations with projects estimated to add more than £16 billion to the UK economy and create nearly 70,000 jobs.

For further information on Innovate UK visit innovateuk.gov.uk.



This event is £40 for members of Agri-Tech East, and £70 for non-members. Please note the fee is non-refundable for cancellation within 5 working days of the event. Agri-Tech East members can register and/or login to have the member rate applied automatically. Check if your company is a member.. Check if your company is a member.

To find out more about becoming a member of Agri-Tech East, please click here.

Basis CPD points will be available for attendees of this event.

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September 17th, 2019 10:00 AM   through   5:00 PM
Future Business Centre
King’s Hedges Road
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB4 2HY
United Kingdom
Phone: 01223 760135
Event Fee(s)
Non-member event fees £70 £ 70.00 + £ 14.00 VAT

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September 17
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Future Business Centre
Kings Hedges Road
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB4 2HY United Kingdom
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