Agri-TechE’s annual REAP conference is the flagship event of Agri-Tech Week, bringing together farmers and growers with researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors. It is strongly focused around bridging the gap between producer needs and innovation-based solutions, as well as showcasing the increasingly vibrant agri-tech start-up community in the east of England and beyond.
If the industry is to grasp the ambition of a carbon neutral world, the potential of virtual supply chains and the competitive advantage of farming sustainably, then it needs good tools and best practice.
At REAP 2019 we took the theme of One Agriculture – examining how animal health, human health, society, the environment and food production are intrinsically linked, creating a win-win for innovations that play to this bigger picture.
For REAP 2020 we are taking this system approach further to explore the agri-tech that is needed to manage innovation at different scales, from molecular processes in plants, animals and microbes, through soil, field and farm level, to catchment level agriculture and landscape systems. There are existing tools that aim to improve systems at all these different scales, but often they are not connected or integrated, and the interactions within and between the different levels are not considered.
The Agriculture Bill and the Environment Bill are potentially the biggest change to the UK agriculture industry in decades. If improvements to ‘public goods’ are to be rewarded, then robust user-centric tools are need to measure the base-line and monitor subsequent progress.
Enabling farmers to understand the impact of interventions at a micro-level and how they can impact at a landscape level – and vice versa – is going to be key to delivering the ambition of these bills.