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Government invests £22m in innovation to transform farming

By James Pugh | Farming | Published:

A project in Shropshire looking at tackling disease in farm animals is to benefit from a share of £22 million Government funding.

The Disease Forecasting System, which is receiving £398,845, will look to monitor and avoid a parasite which is deadly to sheep and cattle by working its way through the gut wall.

The £22 million funding is being used for new technologies to help UK farmers cut down on pollution, minimise waste and produce more food.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore today announced the first 31 projects to benefit from the Government’s dedicated Transforming Food Production Challenge to help businesses, researchers and industry to transform farming and meet the needs of a growing population.

The funding will also contribute towards providing greener, cleaner processes for the agricultural sector, helping towards the Government’s commitment to a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Projects will benefit from a share of £22 million to develop their innovative projects, with industry partners contributing a further £8.8 million.

They also include a project in Warwickshire to use electricity instead of chemicals to kill weeds via the roots avoiding damage to crops, and a project in Hereford to develop automated technology to improve crop yield of soft fruit and increase the quality for consumers.

Mr Skidmore said: “The UK is a global leader in technological innovation, as well as being the first major economy to introduce plans for a legally binding target to reach net zero emissions and end the UK’s contribution to global warming entirely by 2050.

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“The projects announced today will ensure we lead the way in supporting our vital farming industry, delivering high quality food for consumers while reducing the wider environmental impact.

“This is a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy, investing in ground-breaking projects, creating highly skilled jobs and providing a cleaner, greener future for generations to come.”

Farming Minister Robert Goodwill added: “Agri-tech can help us address the biggest challenges facing the agriculture industry, such as eradicating crop pests and diseases for arable farmers without harming the wider environment.

“In 2018 we saw the total value of agri-tech investment worldwide skyrocket.

“Today’s funding will enable more investment in new technology, helping lead to scientific breakthroughs that could transform the sustainability of global food supply chains.”

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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