28 Sept 2022

Laois collaboration hosts agri think tank

Costs questioned on Cube low carbon office building in Portlaoise

The Cube in Portlaoise is one of the entities involved

A new initiative for the Agri Food sector in the Midlands is being launched to provide information, services and finance to encourage those in the sector to adopt and embrace digital technologies.

The joint collaboration between two Co. Laois based groups, Bloom HQ in Mountrath and The Cube – Low Carbon Centre of Excellence, in Portlaoise, will see a major ‘ Agri Think Tank’ on the 27th July to gather feedback from the Agri food sector across the Midlands counties of Laois, Offaly and Westmeath.

The Smart Agri Hubs innovations workshop series will focus on sustainable land management for reducing carbon footprint in the Agri industry and use of open source aerial technology to improve farming processes, and in turn increase yields and productivity.

These workshops will be available through a hybrid model to ensure full accessibility and Zoom links will be available on or Dates and times of workshops and drop in clinics will all be published on the above websites, and respective social media platforms.

Regina Dunne (Digital Innovations Officer at Bloom HQ), is one of two Project Managers along with Niall Kenny, Director of The Cube.

“The development of the Agri Innovation Development Midlands (AIDM) is the first of its type in the Midlands. It will act as a catalyst for Agri Food organisations. The AIDM will be a one stop shop, serving Agri food related companies within the Midlands, helping them to become more competitive through the adoption and development of digital innovations. We will hold regular workshops and training events and serve as the conduit between all stakeholders. We will be introducing Technology providers and innovators to the people engaged in the Agri food and farming sectors, providing them with real, tangible sources of information and investment.

“This consortium will create a unique service in the Midlands, source data and provide educational and training relevant to the Agri food and farming industry in the Midlands. From our extensive network we are hoping to create and in depth understanding of the issues facing the Agri industry in the future, both from a risk mitigation and opportunity perspective. We will share this information with our consortium of partners including Agri Consultants and investors to educate and help deliver digital adoption to drive growth and ensure the future of the sector across the midlands”.

“We know that those in Agri food production and the greater farming community want to get involved in the digital transformation, but sometimes they are unsure of where to access help, support and information”.  

“We have a thriving Agri Food community in the Midlands. In Laois alone, we have some 180 producers, all of whom are working to developing their businesses to the most exacting standards and so, are actually acting as ‘standard bearers’ for others who may wish to break into the industry. We will be linking in with Agri Tech Clusters, our reach is very wide, and we aim to provide a ‘wealth of knowledge’ to farmers in the Midlands. We are receiving great support from the IFA for example as well as many more Agri facing groups”.

“The Midlands is a fertile area for agriculture, 10% of national farmers are based in the region. We will be providing farmers, Agri business owners, including Agri tech businesses with all the help they need to access relevant services for them. Given our current Global Climate crisis, it is essential that stakeholders in the Agri food industry have access to emerging technologies and funding streams”. 

“As the Agri food industry moves to digital farming, it is essential that services are provided on a local level. We are the link, opening doors to all involved in the Agri food industry to allow them access services”.

“These workshops will be delivered in a hybrid model to ensure participation from those ‘at risk’ groups of the Agri industry who may not necessarily engage with workshops on a community level. The easier we make it for people to participate, the more engagement we will achieve”.

“It is imperative that they have the necessary information and tools to enable them become more competitive through the adoption of digital systems”.

“This is a bold and exciting step forward for the Midlands and we are looking forward to listening to and receiving feedback at the upcoming ‘Agri Think Tank’. It will be a huge opportunity to link in and strengthen bonds across the sector”.

Bloom HQ is a community owned Social Enterprise, and The Cube is an EI funded innovation hub.

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