Future Farm, located at Duchy College Stoke Climsland, will be a first of its type for England with the aim of improving efficiency, welfare and technological advancement in dairy farming.

Future Farm will be home to 200 cows that can be grouped into three mini-herds to research the latest innovations in dairy.

The facility will encourage SMEs across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to engage in research at a local, national and international level.

Future Farm will also benefit the next generation of workers and leaders in the sector, with Duchy College Stoke Climsland students in Cornwall and Bicton College students in Devon heavily involved.

Principal of the Colleges, Dr Phil Le Grice, said: “This is an incredible resource for the south west, one that will benefit the dairy and environment sector in many ways.

“The importance of this project can’t be understated and is why we are delighted Minister of DEFRA, George Eustice MP, has agreed to cut the turf to mark the start of the build.

“Politically, economically, environmentally, socially and culturally, Cornwall and Devon must seek to lead and shape its technological and business future.

“Future Farm is a demonstrable commitment to the sector, its current and future businesses and all of the students who will use the facility in the future.”

George Eustice, MP for Camborne and Redruth said the launch of the Future Farm project is a fantastic step forward in research and innovation for the agricultural sector.

He said: “As a former student, it’s encouraging to see the college embrace new technologies that have the potential to lead and shape the sector for years to come."

Paul Ward, research manager of Duchy College’s Rural Business School said: “This is fantastic news for the agricultural sector, not only in the south west, but the UK and beyond.

“Future Farm will support the introduction of computerised precision control feeding systems to the UK and will help tackle the urgent requirement of increasing the competitiveness of businesses within the dairy/livestock industry and supply chain.”

Paul, who spent 25 years specialising in dairy production in Peru, Sudan, Oman, Egypt and Nicaragua, including working with the Department for International Development, said this was the first major investment in dairy research in the region in decades.

“Since the 1980s research has significantly reduced, and with so much change in the industry and the potential reduced or changed nature of support with regards to Brexit, this is a welcome positive for farmers, the agricultural sector and the wider region,” he explained.

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