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    University Vice-Chancellor contributes to new report on how technology can advance farming

    Posted 23 June 2017

    "I believe our recommendations can play a major part in pushing the advance and harnessing of technology to the front of the agriculture and policy agendas."

    MEP Anthea McIntyre

    A far-reaching report which details how developing technology can advance farming was launched at the Royal Three Counties Show in Malvern, Worcestershire.

    MEP Anthea McIntyre, a member of the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, is publishing the report following extensive consultation with range of experts from the fields of science, academia, horticulture, arable and livestock farming, land management, ecology and politics.

    She presented a copy of the report to the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove.

    Technological Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture builds on her parliamentary report, adopted by MEPs last year, and sets out a range of recommendations for putting technology the heart of agriculture in the EU to boost productivity and protect the environment.

    Key evidence was gathered at a round-table conference last month in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, and in reports from John Chinn, Chairman of the UK's Centre for Applied Crop Science, and the Vice Chancellor of Harper Adams University David Llewellyn.

    Harper Adams has pioneered precision agriculture which enables heavy machinery to follow so-called digital tramlines on farmland in order to minimise damage to soil health and water management.

    Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, said: "Nothing is more important to mankind's future than agriculture and how we feed an ever-growing number of hungry mouths across the globe. And nothing is more important to agriculture's future than the serious but sensitive application of new technology, chemical and genetic innovation and the harnessing of emerging digital, biological and physical science.

    "If we are to feed millions more every year in a way that is ecologically and economically sustainable, we need to square the circle that puts farming efficiency at odds with the environment, public health and bio-diversity. The key to achieving that is technology. Not just more technology but more-effective, more-accessible and more-affordable technology.

    "Our widespread consultation highlighted many key opportunities including increased used of robots and drones, driverless tractors, more-accurate application of pesticides and better rural broadband. Deteriorating soil quality and reduced nutritional qualities in food were among the challenges flagged up.

    "I believe our recommendations can play a major part in pushing the advance and harnessing of technology to the front of the agriculture and policy agendas."

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