New prizes worth £5,000 have been launched to identify and support innovators and entrepreneurial thinkers who can drive sustainable change in British farming.
The Farming Innovation Pioneers Awards will be delivered through Harper Adams’ School of Sustainable Food and Farming (SSFF) and sponsored by Trinity AgTech’s Pioneers program.
They will be made to farmers who work with cross-industry stakeholders to spearhead transformational sustainability projects – those which drive the industry forward environmentally, socially or commercially, or a combination of all three.
Examples of innovations the judges expect to see include farmers working together with banks and retailers to set up new types of a more sustainable farm enterprise.
It could also be a project looking to develop new low disturbance machinery through farmer-manufacturer collaboration, or even the co creation of low methane diets in the livestock sector.
Dr Hosein Khajeh-Hosseiny, executive chairman of Trinity AgTech, said the aim was to elevate innovators who could drive change, particularly around sustainable production.
“This is a time of phenomenal opportunity for agriculture, yet currently the industry harnesses just 20% of its inherent innovative talent,” he said.
“We want to provide a platform for mass innovation, empowering farms of all shapes and sizes, to give farmers and their business partners the freedom to explore their potential, free from noise, bias and misinformation that currently stifles creative talent.
“We want to reward those who successfully embrace the innovative potential of the food and farming ecosystem.”
Judges for the Farming Innovation Pioneers Awards will look for collaborative projects that are in the early stages of development or are at the conceptual ideas stage with a clear plan.
They are looking for pioneers who inspire co-creation, collaboration across skillsets, and for ventures that recognise interdependencies and the mutual need for experimentation.
Harper Adams' deputy vice-chancellor Professor Michael Lee said: “The awards will not only recognise the inherent talent we have within the UK farming industry, they will inspire our students to find creative ways towards a more sustainable future.
"This marries new thinking and new technologies with a deep-seated understanding of what works.”
The awards are open for written applications until 1 May 2022 and a panel of judges will review and select winners by 1 June 2022.