Agri-Tech East is to become Agri-TechE in January 2020 to reflect the expansion of its membership beyond the east of England. It has increased its award-winning team, with the addition of Alex Dinsdale to support its growth plans.
Agri-Tech East, a business focused membership organisation, has just been awarded National Networking Group of the Year at the SME Business Awards 2019 at Wembley.
Director Dr Belinda Clarke says this is a welcome endorsement of the success of the organisation. She explains: “Agri-Tech East was established to bring together farmers and growers with scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs to create a global innovation hub in agri-tech - it seemed an ambitious vision.
“However, the concept quickly captured the imagination and support of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, and together we have built a vibrant agri-tech cluster that is not restricted by geography.
“Although the name Agri-Tech East worked well for us in the early days – as it showcased the innovation emerging from the east of England – it has become clear that we have now effectively outgrown our name.
“Our members now come from across the UK and from overseas. The research community has always had a global outlook and early stage agri-tech companies need to go international quickly to gain market share.
“We are very pleased to welcome Alex Dinsdale to the team to help us move to this next phase. We will still be promoting the fantastic work that is happening across the east of England but widening our horizons and those of our members to opportunities further afield.
Alex Dinsdale has a strong agricultural background gained from over 10 years working for the National Farmers Union. His more recent experience has been with agri-tech start-up URSULA Agriculture, one of the first companies to introduce drones to farming, and precision farming business SOYL, which has led the way in the use of yield mapping and precise nutrient application.
Mr Dinsdale says: “By bringing together food production, technology and the natural environment as part of ‘One Agriculture’, Agri-TechE is driving forward an approach that will see agriculture’s environmental sustainability continue to improve. I am very interested in exploring how agri-tech can be used to increase the sustainability and productivity of agriculture.”
Mr Dinsdale’s particular interest is in approaches such as regenerative agriculture, which encompasses improved soil management, carbon sequestration and habitat restoration, and he believes that these will have a far greater impact on-farm when integrated alongside the latest in agricultural technology and data utilisation.
He says: “The rapid advances in agricultural innovation and technology that we’ve seen over the past few years are very exciting and represent massive environmental, economic and social opportunities. Agri-Tech East has played an important role in supporting these activities and I am delighted to join the team as the organisation enters a new phase in its growth.”
Agri-TechE’s plans for 2020 include: thought-provoking networking meetings; visits for members to agri-tech clusters in Missouri in the USA and Saskatchewan in Canada; an agri-tech business plan competition to develop a pipeline of young companies; and inward investment opportunities.
“I am looking forward to helping members develop their potential and to supporting Agri-TechE in promoting agri-tech everywhere,” says Mr Dinsdale.