Opportunity for growers to host first horticulture strategic centre

AHDB Horticulture is offering three growers an exclusive chance to try out the latest labour maximising techniques and be a part of the board’s national Farm Excellence network.

Working closely with industry experts, the leading Strategic SmartHort Centres will provide growers with a platform to explore the potential for new labour-saving and quality-enhancing practices and techniques.

Grace Emeny, AHDB SmartHort knowledge exchange manager, said: “Through the creation of these Strategic SmartHort Centres, we’re looking forward to seeing how businesses can share ideas on how to improve their labour efficiencies and follow the progress of our host businesses as they undertake some exciting projects with the support of Fedden USP.”

For a minimum of a year, the host businesses will take part in activities and trials to produce clear advances in on-farm productivity, using new techniques and monitoring performance.

Growers will also receive the following benefits of being a Strategic SmartHort Centre:

  • Extra support and resources to help improve management practice and improvement opportunities;
  • The opportunity to act as a figurehead for your industry and shape the conversation;
  • AHDB will facilitate on-site activities and events as well as handling all communications and promotional activities;
  • A chance to work with experts and peers to implement new ideas to increase labour efficiency in your business.

Andrew Francis, farm director at Elveden Farms and former AHDB strategic potato farmer, said: “We had several challenges in our business that are the same for others in the area. Being a part of the Strategic Farm allowed us to tackle these through best practice and innovation.”

The project aims to help horticultural growers tackle some of the major challenges around labour issues by increasing efficiency to reduce overall business concerns.

The farms must meet the following requirements:

  • A positive outlook to improving your business;
  • An openness to exchange ideas and share your experiences with other growers at on-farm meetings and events;
  • An enthusiasm to work with industry experts and host demonstrations on your farm.

The Strategic Centres will offer producers a platform to share their progress and learnings through farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange.

To find out more information or to apply for AHDB Strategic SmartHort Centre visit: ahdb.org.uk/smarthort. Applications close on March 14, 2019.