Farmers, growers, innovators and stakeholders coming together to break down the barriers to agri-tech and maximise its potential.

UK farmers and growers are facing ever-increasing pressure to produce more and better quality food, with less inputs, in smarter ways. In order to do so, they need to make their operations more efficient, reliable and sustainable and UK farmers are increasingly keen to embrace technology to achieve these goals. UK agri-tech therefore has an important role to play to reach the Government’s 2050 net zero targets.

In early 2021, finance company Propel surveyed farmers across the country and found that 76% of those surveyed were exploring the use of high-tech equipment on their farms, with renewable energy technology being the third most popular purchase at the time. Despite Brexit and Covid implications, 75% of farmers were looking to acquire assets in the next 12 months. That is very good news for companies developing technology for the agriculture market.

Farms and agriculture that embrace this new agri-tech can see significant benefits, which are then passed on to food producers, consumers, and the environment. These new technologies are changing the face of the farming and agriculture industry, creating exciting opportunities for those willing to adapt. However, many hurdles and challenges still exist and there is still some way to go before some technologies are widely adopted in this sector. At this event we will explore these barriers through presentations, discussions and Q&As, seeking to find ways forward to maximise the exciting potential of agri-tech.

This will be a full-day event with lunch and refreshments. The day will include:

  • Presentations from SMEs showcasing their technology and describing how they have engaged with farmers/growers to develop and pilot their solutions
  • Presentations from other industry experts and stakeholders
  • Panel session 1 – Discussion of the challenges faced by SMEs
  • Panel session 2 – Discussion of the challenges faced by farmers/growers
  • Networking opportunities over coffee and lunch

Who is this event for?

This event will benefit farmers, growers, innovators and business founders who have an interest in the potential of agri-tech innovations to revolutionise agriculture.

We are aiming to attract a wide cross-section of delegates including:

  • farmers/growers, food producers
  • SMEs developing technology solutions
  • specialist agri-tech/agricultural recruiters
  • innovation incubators & accelerators
  • investors & lenders
  • Innovate UK & government bodies
  • industry membership bodies & trade associations
  • insurers
  • academia
  • other interested stakeholders

What will delegates learn?

This event will:

  • bring together a diverse and inclusive selection of agri-tech solution providers, customers, funders, recruiters, and other stakeholders.
  • surface some of the challenges faced by agri-tech SMEs in developing technology solutions for the agricultural sector
  • also surface some of the challenges faced by farmers/growers in adopting agri-tech solutions.
  • provide a forum to raise awareness of the challenges and share experiences and thoughts around how we might overcome some of these barriers.
  • explore the funding options available to SMEs and farmers/growers for the development and implementation of such solutions

Representatives of both the supply side (agri-tech SMEs) and the demand side (farmers and growers) will join panel sessions to share their experiences, voice their needs, and put forward their ideas for how to address the challenges.

Speakers and panellists

Michael Gifford, Director of Commercialisation, NIAB

Following a Physics PhD, Mike has had a varied career working in a variety of sectors. For the past 10 years he has focused on supporting small technology driven companies during periods of rapid growth.

Dr Diego Durantini, Agri-Tech Interdisciplinary Manager, Agri-TechE

As Interdisciplinary Manager, Diego supports new-to-ag companies joining the Agri-TechE ecosystem to have a soft landing within the agriculture and horticulture space, facilitating connections and helping sizing the market opportunities available for their technology.

Dr Rob Wylie, Chair, Cambridge AgriTech

Rob has for over 30 years been involved in setting up and running investment firms and businesses in agri- and food tech innovation. He is former Chair of the IC of Five Seasons VC; co-founder and Chair of investment firms Cambridge Agritech, WHEB, Alpina Partners and on the board of agritech businesses Weedingtech, Solasta Bio, and Aquaspy.

Ian Beecher-Jones, Owner, Jojo’s Vineyard

Ian is owner of JoJo’s Vineyard. It is a 2.2ha 9000 vine vineyard making still and sparkling wine. He has years of experience in the precision farming business around the world.

Daniel Dearing, Senior Innovation & Growth Specialist, Innovate UK EDGE

Dan has had a long career in technology development, project and team management, consulting, and innovation management. In recent years he has specialised in building communities of technology professionals, facilitating knowledge transfer, and helping small companies secure grant funding.

Marc Jones, Business Director, Antobot

Marc is the Commercial Director for Antobot, a start-up developing affordable robotics for sustainable agriculture. Antobot uniquely takes a highly integrated approach developing its own robot platforms, robot control system or robot ‘brain’, the universal Robot Control Unit (uRCU®), and software stack.

Michael Ruggier, CEO, Airponix

Paul Coleman, Crop4Sight

Paul Coleman is Managing Director of Crop4Sight and Director of Restrain. Paul has 37 years’ experience in the potato industry focused in R&D.

Daniel Woolnough, Just Soil Ltd

Daniel Woolnough is Co-Founder of Just Soil, a UK-based developer of technically advanced formulas for the decomposition of green waste, from farm crops to poultry waste. It’s key mission is to bring green waste back into the cyclical cycle of food production in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. It’s aim is to improve food production around the world which doesn’t lead to the degradation of the environment.

Sam Clayton, AGRecruit

Sam is Managing Director of AgRecruit, specialising in recruitment for the AgriTech sector. He works with AgTech companies, often of start-up or SME size, to overcome the challenge of finding skilled people for specialist roles.

Richard Allin, Innovation & Growth Specialist, Innovate UK EDGE

Richard Allin is an Innovation & Growth Specialist for Innovate UK Edge. He graduated from Harper Adams Agricultural University and has previously worked for the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge.

Andrew McLay, Innovate UK

Andrew has worked with the Transforming Food Production Team at Innovate UK for the last five years. Previously Andrew worked as a consultant for Promar International, the consulting arm of Genus Plc. Andrew has also held international marketing roles for Australian industry organisations including, Dairy Australia and Australian Pork limited. Andrew started his career as a farm advisor in New Zealand.

James Milne, Barclays

James Milne is Agricultural Regional Manager for Barclays covering the East of England. He leads a team of 13 Relationship Directors supporting over 1000 agricultural clients.

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Villa Road Histon CB24 9NZ
Organiser: Innovate UK EDGE

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