Rothamsted Research’s 400ha site in Harpenden, Hertfordshire is the latest site to join the Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) network.

The move further strengthens a grouping of innovation centres and demonstration farms, which include some of the UK’s leading research establishments and most progressive farmers.

In essence, this development further aligns Rothamsted’s strategic partnership with LEAF, thereby accelerating the scientific knowledge exchange around more sustainable, regenerative farming systems.

Rothamsted and LEAF

Working with farmers, the food industry, scientists, environmentalists, teachers, young people, and consumers, LEAF is looking at new ways to deliver productivity and prosperity among our farmers, enrich the environment and engage young people and society in a valuable and meaningful way.

Speaking at the launch, Philip Wynn, chairman of LEAF said:

“Rothamsted is a vibrant hub for global science, underpinned by history, innovation, and fresh thinking, working across different scales and disciplines to improve crop and livestock performance, resilience, and value. 

“We are honoured to be forging even closer links with them at this crucial time for agriculture.

“We are hugely excited about the opportunities this partnership will offer our members and the wider farming community to access the latest research, ideas, and innovations to advance more resilient global farming and food systems.

“The role of the LEAF Network could not be more important at this time.  We look forward to building on our partnership with Rothamsted to help inform, inspire and equip farmers with the tools, know-how and confidence to realise their sustainable farming ambitions.”

Innovation centres

LEAF Innovation Centres are research organisations whose work supports the research, evidence, development, and promotion of Integrated Farm Management.

Rothamsted’s North Wyke farm, specialising in sustainable grazing livestock systems, has been a LEAF Innovation Centre since 2015.

Prof. Angela Karp, director and CEO of Rothamsted Research said that extending the collaboration with LEAF signals a major step in driving forward the uptake of more integrated, holistic approaches to crop and livestock farming.

“Partnerships, innovation, public engagement, and knowledge exchange are woven into our new science strategy,” she explained.

“By working with both public and private sector partners, our aim is to turn excellent research into impactful, sustainable outcomes. Being a LEAF Innovation Centre will better enable our wide-ranging research to reach farmers on the ground.

“It is partnerships such as this that will help accelerate the capabilities of farmers to raise the productivity of their crop and livestock systems, tackle weed, disease and insect resistance, improve soil health, enhance natural capital, and reduce their carbon and nutrient footprint.


The Rothamsted director said that developing closer ties between researchers and practitioners will refine and improve performances for both.

She continued:

“We are extremely honoured to become a LEAF Innovation Centre and, alongside our North Wyke site, look forward to the opportunities it will bring to advance fresh, dynamic, and responsive approaches to knowledge development and exchange that are aligned with the needs of farmers.”

Rothamsted Research joins 14 other LEAF Innovation Centres: Agrii Throws Farm Technology Centre; Bangor University; Bayer Crop Science; the University of Reading’s Centre for Dairy Research; The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust; Harper Adams University; The James Hutton Institute; Newcastle University Farms, NIAB EMR; Rothamsted Research North Wyke; The Royal Agricultural University; SRUC’s The Dairy Cattle Research and Innovation Centre; SRUC’s Hill and Mountain Research Centre; and Stockbridge Technology Centre.