Lisa Bagley joined Barclays 10 years ago and thanks to her passion for supporting businesses is now their Business Relationship Manager. Last year she became the Ecosystem Manager for the newly opened AgriTech Eagle Labs Farm in Lincoln and jumped at the chance to support business start-ups and entrepreneurs in this exciting and fast-evolving industry. Lisa shares her passion for agri-tech, and her predictions for the future with us here.

Eagle Labs Farm opened its doors in the autumn of 2020 in partnership with the University of Lincoln and brings a dedicated co-working incubation solution for agricultural technology (agritech) businesses at the University of Lincoln's Riseholme campus.

The farm provides agritech entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers with access to cutting-edge resources that include a specialised robotics lab, a demonstration pack-house and a model refrigerated supermarket for members to develop, prototype and test their products.

Eagle Labs Farm welcomed its first resident member, Terravesta, at the end of last year. Terravesta is a specialist in Miscanthus grass, which has incredible properties to enable it to improve soils, store carbon, increase biodiversity and provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. The company works with growers in the UK and internationally, linking them with rapidly growing markets; Lisa was delighted to welcome them and the team will work closely with them to help them grow their business.

“Our vision is to accelerate the UK agricultural industry's adoption of emerging technologies to increase efficiencies across the food supply chain from field to fork,” says Lisa. 

“The global population is predicted to reach nine billion by 2050 and modelling shows we will need to produce up to 150% more food. At the moment, one-third of all food produced is wasted before it even hits the supermarket shelf. So how can we produce more without increasing land use, and do this in an environmentally sustainable way?”

Lisa believes that agritech is seen as the holy grail to answer that question and deliver solutions. "But we need to find suitable ways to apply technology to support farmers and the whole food chain, to enable them to feel skilled and confident to transition to using new technology.”

We asked Lisa for her top three predictions for agrirobotics in 2021: “I believe that intelligent robotics is key - the development of smart, automated and robotic solutions for real-world farm and food production problems to address challenges accelerated by Brexit and Covid.”

The largest agrirobotics team in Europe is based at the University of Lincoln. They are currently working on engineering solutions that will provide consistent, repeatable performance in support of a range of agricultural tasks in the field and in the pack house, advancing computer vision and innovative sensing approaches, robotic manipulation and control methods, in data-backed decision making and human-in-the-loop systems.

“Next I'd say digital integration, and finally sustainable innovation. We need to consider the global context for agriculture and horticulture production, which means designing solutions to facilitate doing more with less. We need to evolve methods that respect our soils, water and biodiversity and ensure that we have resilient food and farming systems which deliver end-to-end across the farm-to-fork chain,” says Lisa.

At Eagle Labs, this is their vision: to accelerate the UK agricultural industry's adoption of emerging technologies to increase efficiencies across the food supply chain.

“From growing more food with less resource to the use of robotics for planting and picking, and demonstrating how AI can improve resilience, we’re empowering the industry to make better decisions on how to improve their business now and in the future,” says Lisa.

“Covid hasn’t caused labour shortages but it has highlighted how robotics can contribute.  We want to equip farmers and innovators with the knowledge to become the most digital-savvy agritech workforce in the world.” 

To request a tour of the laboratories or to find out more, email quoting Greater Lincolnshire LEP Lincolnshire Voices.

The Greater Lincolnshire LEP is developing plans in a powerful collaboration with the food industry to create a globally important UK Food Valley to promote us as the UK capital for food, attract investment, collaborate on innovation and automation, and offer green, sustainable, healthy growth.

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