Riseholme College near Lincoln launched its new Centre of Agri-Food Technology on Friday.
The centre was officially opened by Sir Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough, and College Assistant Principal Daniel Metters.
It is part of a £1.2 million investment from the Department of Education into new facilities and equipment to educate the farmers and agriculturalists of the future in new ways.
Guests at Friday’s launch saw specialist equipment obtained for the centre. This includes GPS field mapping and guidance systems, thermal drone technology, a sed drill and fertiliser spreader fitted with variable application technology and farm plan software.
The centre is part of the Lincolnshire Institute of Technology (LIoT), which is an employer-led collaboration between the county’s further education colleges and the University of Lincoln. It is designed to provide higher level technical and digital skills across the county.
Sir Edward Leigh said agriculture was facing a number of challenges, including free trade and Brexit, and the new centre was about improving yields and knowing exactly what was happening in the ground.
He said: “This college is at the cutting edge of the future of farming.”
Daniel Metters, Assistant College Principal, said: “We are championing sustainable and regenerative farming to ensure the future of farming in the UK.
“The process of withdrawal from the Common Agricultural Policy and the loss of the associated farm support payments makes it imperative that farmers use every tool at their disposal to maintain productivity whilst at the same time meeting environmental expectations.
“The LIoT will develop the skills required to harness the power of digital technologies and big data to meet the husbandry requirements of crops and livestock.”
The guests to the centre, who included LIoT members and civic dignitaries, also saw the opening of new students residential accommodation at the Showgrond campus before travelling to Riseholme Park Farm.
This is where the college and the university have established new facilities for teaching and research.