July 22, 2013

British agriculture is the best in the world; we here at Rix have learnt that through decades working with farmers across the country.

But it can be a challenging industry in which to make ends meet – recent media reports suggest the average British hill farmers earns on average just £12,600 per year, despite public perception that the figure is much higher.

Arable farmers too are having a difficult time of it. The unpredictable weather that has dominated in recent years means many are expecting a 30 per cent reduction in crop yields this harvest.

So it is good news that today the Government has announced a £160m investment package in UK farming technologies in an effort to meet the global challenges of food and land supply, and water and energy shortages.

The package includes £90m designated for centres of agricultural innovation and £70m will go towards projects that help ‘bridge the gap between the lab and the market’.

Areas where the government says it wants to increase investment include genetics, health in crops and livestock, sensors, robotics, precision agriculture, crop and livestock genomics and plant breeding.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “We have a world class science and research community and our institutes and universities are at the forefront of agricultural research.

“To get ahead in the global race, this strategy sets out how we can ensure that we turn our world-beating agricultural science and research into world-beating products and services.”

In other words, with this investment UK farming will not just be the best in the world, but our agricultural research will be too. And that should be a huge source of pride for everyone associated with such a great British industry.

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