Plans underway for UK's first school of sustainable farming

The school will develop knowledge and skills for farmers and other businesses in the supply chain
The school will develop knowledge and skills for farmers and other businesses in the supply chain

Plans are underway to develop the UK's first school centred on sustainable food and farming to help the industry reduce its environmental impact.

The school, to be located on Harper Adams University grounds in Shropshire, will research production systems geared towards more sustainable farming.

It will also draw on expertise to develop knowledge and skills for farmers who are committed to sustainable food production.

Research topics initially will include livestock breed choice, diet composition, yield improvement, agricultural building design and on-farm renewable energy.

Michael Lee, Harper Adams Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said the school was 'critically needed' as it would help support the UK's transition to a more sustainable food system.

“The initial targets will be centred around how to achieve net-zero UK agriculture," he explained.

"The ambition of the school will include wider aspects of sustainability including biodiversity, animal welfare, rural community support, green energy production and farm profitability.”

Using knowledge from the research, the school will seek to develop advice to help farmers adjust their practices to be more sustainable.

RAFT Solutions Ltd will play a key role in developing practical skills training associated with animal breeding and health.

Jonathan Statham, chief executive of RAFT Solutions said: “There are win-win opportunities where better animal health and welfare are better economically as well as better for the planet.

"Reducing the waste of poor health and reproductive inefficiency alongside delivering practical precision livestock farming (PLF) solutions is where our work supports sustainable farming.”

The school will be supported by Morrisons with co-partner RAFT Solutions Ltd.