SO YOU think you know more than the experts? – well here’s your chance to prove it.

Rothamsted Research is offering UK farmers the opportunity to test their own theories and in conjunction with the AHDB is offering up to £3000 for a ‘smart’ research idea. All the projects will be co-designed and run by farmers themselves.

The monies come from a new fund aimed at supporting innovative on-farm research – with all projects to be thought up, co-designed, and run by farmers. The aim of the FarmInn project is to provide real world solutions to challenges facing UK agriculture.

Project leader, Dr Ian Shield, said: “We all know the problems the industry faces, but no one is more acutely aware than farmers themselves. To tackle these challenges, farmers need new knowledge that can be implemented in the field. FarmInn gives them a chance to find solutions to the things that matter most to the agricultural community.”

About seven projects will be funded in the first instance, with each farmer receiving up to £3000 to cover the eligible costs of running their trial. “Any proposal that addresses the efficiency, productivity and sustainability of farm businesses will be considered,” said Dr Shield.

The scheme will provide free access to Rothamsted’s researchers and facilities, by pairing each farmer with an expert, he added. “Farmers are great innovators, continually striving for new and better ways of doing things. They also possess a huge wealth of expertise and when it comes to their own land, an unrivalled level of knowledge.

“We aim to support that spirit of discovery by taking away some of the financial risks of trying something new, and by providing them with specialist support in terms of designing experiments, collecting data and analysing results,” he added.

All it needs is to fill in a short, simple application form and projects will be chosen by a panel of Rothamsted staff, who will then assign a suitable scientist to work with the applicant.

Tim Isaac, head of arable knowledge exchange at AHDB, said: “FarmInn is a great fit for AHDB as it champions our preferred farmer led approach while focusing on farm-based trials as the key to unlocking productivity. Together with our involvement in Innovative Farmers and our own network of farms, it will help in the faster dissemination of learning that the industry demands.”

Once up and running, the projects’ results will be presented via on-farm demonstrations, websites and social media, as well as an annual conference.

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