6 November 2017
Stan Phillips, Steve Knight and Jennifer Wilson, of the US Department of Agriculture, have visited Harper Adams to tour the facilities and see some of the research which is taking place.
Mr Phillips, the Agricultural Counselor for the US Embassy in London, also gave a talk to students and staff as part of his visit on linking US agriculture to the world.
In his talk, Mr Phillips highlighted the importance of future UK/US trade relationships. He also explored how their farm bill, which controls an array of agricultural food programmes, has changed over time and how his department have shared learnings with DEFRA to help with Brexit agricultural planning. This included showing how the amount in food commodity support has gradually gone down, while the amount in crop insurance has increased.
During the tour the guests visited the Jean Jackson Entomology Building, dairy and the engineering facilities, including the Hands Free Hectare in operation.
Mr Phillips said: “We have been on a short visit around the local area. Yesterday we had some meetings with the NFU and AHDB and whole being in the area, it only made sense to stop in and see what’s happening at Harper Adams.
“We had a great tour seeing some of the exciting work that’s being done here and I’m very impressed by it. I hope there might be some chances, as I encounter US business representatives passing through the Embassy, to make some connections in the future by bringing them together with people here at Harper Adams.
“During the tour of the robotics area we saw some of the practical applications of the technology that several years ago we wouldn’t have thought was possible and now it’s being put into practice.
“Looking at the Hands Free Hectare was very exciting and interesting. We saw a tractor going through the field spraying weeds and the tractor was operating on its own with nobody at the wheel. That’s exciting and I think that’s the way of the future, so it was great to see it here first.”