Are you interested in innovation and trying new techniques? Do you perform your own on-farm trials or develop novel solutions to practical problems? If so, you might be eligible to take part in the Innovative Farmers programme.
Part of the Duchy Future Farming Programme and funded by the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation, the scheme aims to bring together and support farmers who want to test the latest thinking on their farm. The network is backed by a team from LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), Innovation for Agriculture, the Organic Research Centre and the Soil Association, and supported by Waitrose.
It works by bringing together groups of farmers with researchers from top agricultural institutions in practical ‘field labs’. This means you can get reliable results and practical solutions to the challenges your business is facing. Over the last three years 750 farmers and growers have been involved in 35 different field labs covering topics from antibiotic use in dairy cattle to controlling blackgrass.
Half the farmers who have taken part say they have made changes to their farming practices as a result of being involved in the field labs, with nine out of ten saying they learned something from the experience.
Membership of the scheme costs £240 plus VAT per year, although sponsorship of up to £2,000 may be available for groups of up to 24 farmers. Participating groups can get up to £10,000 research funding per field lab.
The scheme can match farmers and growers with the necessary expertise and interest to set up a new field lab, or put them in touch with an appropriate existing one. For more information on the scheme, visit: www.innovativefarmers.org