NFU President Minette Batters has officially opened a new £2 million agricultural centre which aims to provide farmers access to the latest commercial technology.
The new Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre showcases the production, welfare and financial improvements that smart farming technology can bring to farmers.
The state-of-the-art building is based at Hartpury University and Hartpury College in Gloucestershire.
The opening ceremony on Monday (17 February) was attended by 100 guests from the industry, including Clive and Sylvia Richards, whose charity donated £150,000 towards the project.
David Owen, Chief Executive of the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership, also attended the event. He provided £1 million in match funding.
Minette Batters said the new centre will empower local farmers: “It is really important that as an industry we continue to upskill and push ourselves forward.
“The centre offers farmers a great opportunity to access the latest commercial technology and explore how they can embrace innovation on their farm.
“This is all about empowering Gloucestershire farmers, both young and old, with access to new skills and technology.
“As our industry aims to become more productive and sustainable, access to new technology will be absolutely crucial.”
Russell Marchant, the Vice-Chancellor of Hartpury University and Principal of Hartpury College, said technology offers farming 'enormous benefits'.
“It aims not only to educate young students but also provide the right environment for industry to come and see technology in action, to get the overalls on and have a hands-on experience of making it work.
“The centre is part of our ambitious 10-year vision we have to create a Digital Innovation Farm, in response to an increasingly digital world with global demand for new technology in farming,” he said.
“Our plans for the next decade will provide essential support for agricultural businesses and professionals in Gloucestershire and beyond.”