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Gloucestershire Business News

LEAF Innovation Centre status for Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre

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

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 news coincides the institution's 75th anniversary.

The move highlights Hartpury's strategic partnership with LEAF and a focus on accelerating 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, 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.

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 use 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."

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