On 26th July the first meeting of the LEP Food Group with DEFRA was held in London. With 24 LEPs now involved the LEP Food Group brings together all the LEPs for whom food is a priority sector with DEFRA and officials from across government to look at ways to sustainably grow the UK food economy.
Martin and Tom Collison attended the SKIN Innovation Challenge Workshop (ICW) in Mechelen, Belgium on 23rd-25th April 2018. This ICW focused on innovative ways in which the fresh produce sector can be developed.
On 9th July Martin Collison in his role as Communications and Engagement Group Chair of WRE was pleased to be on the panel for the WRE launch event at the Lincolnshire Showground.
On 12th and 13th April Martin Collison led a group including Mark Suthern and Oliver McEntyre of Barclays Bank, Sir Peter Kendall and Tom Hind of AHDB and David Gardner and Andrew Lazenby of Innovation for Agriculture to the Netherlands to look at why the productivity growth rate in the Netherlands has been four times faster than in the UK. Organised with Peter Paree of Southern Netherlands farmers union, ZLTO, the visit included visits to highly automated glasshouse and dairy farms, meeting the ZLTO chairman, the Head of Agriculture at Rabobank, senior executives from Lely in the week they celebrated 25 years of robotic milking machines and Wageningen University Research (WUR).
Martin Collison was one of 70 people from Multi-actor projects across Europe to attend an event organised with the EU Commission at Copa-Cogeca to discuss the role that Thematic Networks have within the H202o and EIP Agro programmes in facilitating the dissemination of research and commercial best practice. Thematic Networks bring together innovative farmers and food businesses with industry, researchers, academics and advisory services to promote successful innovative best practices so that more farmers and food companies can benefit from them.
Martin Collison spoke at the IAgrM Leadership Development Programme at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) on a very snowy 1st March 2018. Taking the need for new skills to drive the agricultural sector forward as his topic, Martin was once again very impressed with the calibre of the course participants and the breadth of the course which is an excellent way to prepare delegates for future high profile careers in the industry. The course includes a series of talks, debates, visits and workshops in the UK and Brussels and was again fully booked in 2018.
Martin Collison was one of over 100 who attended a celebratory lunch at the RAF Club, London on 27th February for Team Lincolnshire. The event celebrated the success of the Team Lincolnshire initiative which has brought together champions from the public and private sectors to promote Lincolnshire as a thriving and dynamic economy.
Martin Collison was a speaker at the New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (NAAME) conference on 15th February to report on the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) sector skills plan he has written for New Anglia as part of a team led by SkillsReach. The plan sets out the priorities for skills investment in the AME sector across Norfolk and Suffolk and focuses on the need to embrace the development of industry 4.0.
The UK Space Agency has awarded £38m to 10 projects in the 2nd round of the International Partnership Programme (IPP2), including the £3.9m EcoProMIS proposal to develop decision support systems for crop production in Colombia. The bid is led by Rothamsted Research and UK start up Agricompas, with whom Martin Collison worked to write the bid.
Martin and Lynn Collison attended the SKIN Thematic Network meeting in Vienna on 18th and 19th January 2018.
The EU skin project team, which focuses on sharing best practice in developing short food chains, visited the Pyrha Agricultural School and a range of commercial businesses including farmers and food processors. The picture shows a very impressive display of food products and associated marketing campaign materials developed by the 14-16 year old students at the school, who combine their normal academic studies with practical experience in food and farming.