First UK school of sustainable food and farming set to be created at Harper Adams

Plans are in progress to develop the UK’s first school of sustainable food and farming at Harper Adams University.

Supported by Morrisons, with co-partner RAFT Solutions Ltd., the school will draw on academic and practical expertise, as well as industry networks, to develop knowledge and skills for farmers and other businesses in the supply chain, who are committed to reducing the environmental impact of food production.

Professor Michael Lee, Harper Adams deputy vice-chancellor, said: “We are extremely excited to team up with Morrisons and RAFT Solutions to deliver this critically needed collaboration which will support the transition to a more sustainable food system delivering to both human and planetary health.

The initial targets will be centred around 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.”

Supporting sustainable farming

The school will support and further develop production systems research geared towards more sustainable farming.

Research topics will initially include: livestock breed choice; diet composition; yield improvement; agricultural building design; on-farm renewable energy; precision farming; sensors; and use of data.

Using knowledge from the research, the school will seek to develop practical advice and guidance to help farmers adjust their practices to be more sustainable.

RAFT Solutions Ltd. will play a key role in developing practical skills training associated with animal breeding and health.

Professor Jonathan Statham, chief executive of RAFT Solutions Ltd and Professor of Sustainable Livestock Health and Welfare at the Harper and Keele Vet School, said:

“We are incredibly proud to support Morrisons in its net-zero ambition, which is true to the very core of RAFT’s activity and the vision for Harper and Keele Vet School to make a real difference at farm level with practical and achievable solutions to the sustainability challenge.”