Pilot scheme launched to help Devon farmers with future opportunities and new technology

A pilot project has been launched to help support the growth of Devon’s agricultural industry.

The £500,000 Devon County Council scheme is being supported through the UK Community Renewal Fund which was recently secured by Team Devon.

The DATA (Devon Agri-Tech Accelerator) project is aiming to provide support and research for farmers, growers, landowners, and other agricultural and Agri-Tech businesses to develop innovations that can help build a sustainable farming community within Devon.

It will also look to reduce Devon’s carbon footprint, enhance farm productivity, support the local economy and grow the agriculture and Agri-Tech business sector in Devon.

Devon County Council will be working with Business Information Point, Duchy College Rural Business School, and the University of Plymouth on the project which will cover four key areas of work:

Research & Mapping – To understand how many farms currently use technology, what opportunities may be around the corner and what Agri-Tech developers we have within Devon.

Building an Agri-Tech Alliance – Create a group where farmers, horticultural, aquacultural and forestry businesses can connect with Agri-Tech developers and stakeholders, such as academic institutions, who are undertaking research. This will use the research and mapping to plan how to grow and support the sector in the future, connecting all areas of the agricultural sector with new and innovative opportunities.

Farm Innovation Pilot – Develop a ‘Farm Innovation Plan’ and test with farm businesses in West Devon and Torridge, which are the Community Renewal Fund priority areas in Devon. Two events, the first being held on Monday 28 February, between 12pm and 7pm at Roadford Lake. Agri-Tech businesses will showcase their innovations to farmers across Devon, where they will be able to explore the technology, try it out and understand what it could offer their farm business.

Knowledge Exchange and Voucher Scheme pilot – A “Knowledge Exchange Manager” will work with 14 Agri-Tech businesses across Devon to identify bespoke support, advice or services needed to develop Agricultural technology and innovation or grow your business. Vouchers of up to £15,000 will be available to pay for the support identified.

For more information, please visit Devon County Council’s DATA project website, or contact data@devon.gov.uk.