Planning and developing your career in agriculture and farming will be interesting over the coming decade and beyond. Technological developments in the farming sector are coming in leaps and bounds, as this source of the UK's food production gears up to helping meet global food demands.
Government proposals to enhance technological developments in agriculture
The UK government terms this a "golden age" for innovation in British agriculture and has committed to further spending on the new projects that will deliver these innovations. New, state-of-the-art technologies are to be employed across a wide range of systems utilised for the production and processing of foods in the agricultural sector. Lord Duncan, who is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Agriculture, commented that scientific innovation in agriculture and farming is "vital" for helping to grow this sector. He added: "Anyone who thinks that farming is tweedy and dusty would be astounded at the level of technology and scientific precision involved in modern day agriculture". "We know that this work in innovation is key to increasing productivity and sustainability in agriculture and will allow the UK to continue to compete globally, meeting the growing demand for British food around the world".
It was already announced earlier this year by UK Business Secretary, Greg Clark, that £90m of additional new funding would be available for technological advances in agriculture through the new Industrial Strategy. This funding is to be used to support growth in Artificial Intelligence, robotics and earth observation in efforts to improve the supply chain resilience of the agri-food sector. Mr Clark commented that this new technology is lifting the earning power of farmers and helping make agri-businesses "more productive and profitable than ever before".
This funding is specifically geared towards helping agri-businesses make the most of the new technology that's most critical for meeting growing food requirements of the UK's increased population.
According to the latest global statistics the demand for food will grow by 60% in the period to 2050. And, Defra feel that the only way for the UK to compete globally and enhance national production levels is to embrace the innovations coming on board now. These technologies will help improve levels of productivity and tackle the problems associated with disease and pests.
Existing new approaches in the farming sector
When it comes to new approaches to farming, the use of robotics, AI and data is becoming increasingly part of daily life for British farmers, enhanced by the support provided by the agri-tech companies and research centres.
The Agricultural Engineering and Precision Innovation Centre (Agri-EPI) is one example of a UK organisation that's committed to the creation of innovation within the farming sector. Agri-EPI works in conjunction with some of the leading companies in the food supply chain to boost levels of engineering and precision in agriculture.
The Agri-EPI centre is committed to driving the growth and innovation within farming that will allow businesses to become more sustainable and grow profits. The Centre has facilities in four different areas of the UK; Cranfield, Edinburgh, Newport and the South West, alongside a network of satellite farms covering the entire UK.
Farmers and growers can easily access major educational institutions for information and advice via the Centre, while Think Tanks are in place to support the Centre's R&D agenda. Business incubation facilities are also available for companies of any size, helping grow the sector substantially. The Centre also designs new farming technologies which are tested and demonstrated in a working environment at the satellite farms.
Some of the major projects currently underway at the Agri-EPI Centre include development and use of robotics for planting, harvesting and monitoring crops, early warning systems which monitor livestock health, and robotics systems which monitor and milk dairy cattle. The Centre is also involved in promoting the use of satellites and drones for arable production and sensors to test and monitor soils.
You can find out more about the work of the Agri-EPI Centre on their website, or get in touch with them to discuss ways in which their technologies can assist in raising the profitability of your food production business (insert link https://www.agri-epicentre.com/news/)
CROPROTECT is another new development in agriculture and offers a mobile app and website geared to helping farmers provide the right crop protection. The site was developed by Rothamsted Research, in conjunction with agronomists and farmers and provides advice and tips on the smart control of pests, disease and weeds.
CROPROTECT is just one more service which aims to assist in the move towards Smart Farming. Growers can quickly and easily access information about disease, pest and weed management, to help ensure enhanced harvests and profitability. The service is available for Android and iPhone, so it's a simple matter to access CROPROTECT while out and about in the fields and inspecting crops. The management of pests can be of high concern to growers of any size, this website and app help give all the scientific information and management solutions that are suitable for specific environments and locations. When it comes to seeking expert agronomist support, the CROPROTECT service includes two-way discussions, so expert advice is available at all times.
It's already anticipated that the use of artificial intelligence in agriculture will grow by 24.3% in the period to 2014 and this will prove to be a $12bn industry by the year 2027. This development is likely to open up a raft of employment opportunities for IT graduates wanting to develop a career servicing and operating the technology within the agricultural sector.
As stated, career developments in agriculture are really heading into an exciting era, offering graduates and senior level employees an unprecedented arena for growth and job development. Agricultural Recruitment Specialists recruit staff for a wide range of high level posts within the agricultural and horticultural sectors. If you're looking for a change of career, planning to progress your employment, or are a graduate wanting to jump start your career in the global agricultural sector, get in touch to discuss the wide range of opportunities available.