Harper Adams plans UK’s first school of sustainable farming

Harper Adams university is planning to create the UK’s first school of sustainable food and farming, to help UK agriculture reach net-zero carbon emissions.

Research will be used to develop sustainability advice and guidance for farmers.

The research will initially include livestock breed choice, diet composition, yield improvement, agriculture building design, on-farm renewable energy, precision farming and sensors and data use.

See also: Morrisons makes 2030 net-zero pledge for farmers

Morrisons supermarket and sustainable farming research company Raft Solutions are working with the university on the project.

Michael Lee, Harper Adams deputy vice-chancellor, said: “The initial targets will be centered on how to achieve net-zero UK agriculture. However, the ambition of the school will include wider aspects of sustainability including biodiversity, animal welfare, rural community support, green energy production and farm profitability.”

Morrisons is helping to fund the new school and Raft Solutions will be involved in developing practical training on animal breeding and health.

Raft Solutions chief executive Jonathan Statham said: “The pressures on farming and farmers are intense, but there are win-win opportunities where better animal health and welfare are better economically, as well as better for the planet.

“Reducing the waste from poor health and reproductive inefficiency alongside delivering practical precision livestock farming solutions is where our work supports sustainable farming.”

Sophie Throup, head of agriculture at Morrisons, said: “We are making a significant investment into this project as part of our pledge to be the first supermarket to be directly supplied by net zero carbon British farms by 2030.

“We look forward to working as a partnership and to bringing the best brains together within the industry – to provide this new breadth of sustainability training for our British farmers.”

Harper Adams said it was exploring new work placement and apprenticeship opportunities around sustainable agriculture to help prepare students for future jobs.

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