News

21 Mar 2017

New Workspaces at Farm491 Agritech Hub set to Facilitate Technological Progression in UK Farming

The dynamic agritech innovation and incubation hub, Farm491 is delighted to be opening five new practical workspaces at its Harnhill site, Gloucestershire, this April. Following a soft launch, the official opening will then take place on the 30th June – with a celebrity appearance from rare breeds farmer and TV Presenter Adam Henson.

Farm491 is the ground-breaking incubation hub at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) that facilitates the growth of agribusinesses. In its entirety, the hub will comprise of different dynamic spaces where entrepreneurs can trial ideas, establish an office base or utilise Farm491’s network of academics, farmers, data, business advisors and industry influencers. Members at Farm491 are at the heart of innovation – from farm machinery trading platforms, digital land management tools, meat certification to tracking devices; Farm491 is supporting businesses, who through technology, will be vital in securing a sustainable agricultural economy.

Five New Workspaces to Open April 2017

At the end of April 2017, five cutting-edge workshops, in a renovated farm barn at the Harnhill site, will welcome their first innovators through the doors. This will provide vital space to research, test and refine ideas for the benefit of the wider agricultural and food production industries – where technology will be vital in feeding a growing global population. The workshops are designed to give maximum flexibility to those wishing to use them. Full height with pedestrian access on one side and a roller shutter door the other side. The design, structure and layout of the new workspaces has been instructed by SRA Architects – and Snape Contractors have been employed to carry out the building work. Members who sign up to use the collaborative workshop space at Harnhill will also have use of office space, meeting rooms and access to the adjacent Cotswold farmland owned by the RAU. The workspaces are also located on a RAU farm allowing entrepreneurs easy access to livestock, crops and the neighboring Rural Innovation Centre.  

Project Partner, David Beckett, SRA Architects says; “For the Harnhill workspaces we have worked in line with the RAU and Farm491’s commitment to sustainability and pledge to reduce CO2 emissions campus wide. The building has been designed with a low energy approach. Natural daylight is maximized by large areas of glazing on both north and south facades, and lower level windows are operable on ground and first floor to provide natural ventilation. At ground floor, air is drawn through deep open spaces to the south side via exhaust vents, which discharge air through the north façade. The building requires no additional cooling other than assisted natural ventilation. When completed this building will be an excellent addition to the Farm491 initiative.”

Angela Simkins, Farm491 Centre Director added; “We have some exciting months ahead of us at Farm491 – and we are really looking forward to opening the doors to the first workspaces at Harnhill. So far, we already have BASF ready to move into one of the larger workshops (an agronomy company) and Multibox another (an insect farming company).”

She concludes; “The agritech industry is currently valued at £400 billion globally and 450,000 people are employed by agriculture and agritech in the UK alone. Our members at Farm491 represent a spectrum of innovations, where they are applying technology in unique and interesting ways to significantly shape and sustain the future of British agriculture. The new practical workspaces at our Harnhill site are a step to supporting, embracing, and encouraging further technology advancement.”