Helen Glass reports from the Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Event in Sheffield

“Sheffield was the place to be for agritech innovations on a rainy day at the end of June. SAOS was the only Scottish-based organisation represented in an audience of over 120 at the Innovate UK KTN (Knowledge Transfer Network) event and certainly the only co-op represented in a room of entrepreneurs, academics, investors and agronomists, along with speakers from The Small Robot Company, ADAS, Stockbridge Technology Centre and Innovate Farmers Network.

The agenda topics were well-represented by speakers who were passionate about the ecosystem to support early adoption of agri tech innovations and the role that farmers have to play in co-innovation strategies.  My proposition to the speakers was “why not work with agri co-ops to get innovations into practice?” Clearly, SAOS members can demonstrate their own examples of innovation activity and are well-placed to take advantage of partnerships that, to date, may not have been on many people’s radar. Following several conversations at the event, I’m hopeful that the question on the minds of those developing solutions for smart agriculture was “why have we not engaged with co-ops before?” The SAOS innovation support programme for members will certainly benefit from our presence at this event – as one of the speakers but it: “agritech is useless if we cannot engage farmers”. Watch this space…