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Ag tech and science careers take center stage at FW event

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© Telling Photography

Farmers Weekly is once again taking farming to the public at the New Scientist Live event in London from 7-9 October.

There are few careers as full of possibilities as one in agriculture. But it’s not just future livestock rearers and crop growers that the industry needs – fresh talent from outside traditional recruitment grounds is also essential to help drive innovation in the sector.

That’s why, with the help of industry organizations and businesses, we’ll be bringing the sector to life through the Future of Food & Agriculture exhibit, which wowed audiences in Manchester earlier this year.

See also: Farming careers: Working as a pig unit manager

Feed The World Stage

Along with our partners, we’ve put together a program of talks to educate and inform a non-farming audience about agriculture.

Speakers on the Feed The World Stage will be looking at global challenges such as climate change, feeding a growing population, managing extreme weather and why the food and farming sector is part of the solution.

They will do their best to bust some mainstream media myths and answer such questions as how indoor agriculture could scale up in the future, whether lab-based meat is really something consumers want, and why farming needs hydrogen power.

About New Scientist Live

The world’s biggest festival of science and technology runs from 7-9 October in London. Over the course of the three days, an estimated 25,000 people are expected to attend the event in person, and a virtual audience of more than 3,000 will also log in to take part.

Along with our partners, we’re on a mission to encourage fresh blood into the sector by spreading the word that farming is one of the most exciting and cutting-edge industries there is.

Interactive exhibits will give visitors hands-on experience of some of the developments and prove that a career in farming is anything but low-tech, low-skilled and slow-moving.

From the big kit that helps drill and harvest our crops, to minute organisms that live in our soil, visitors will be able to experience the multifaceted aspects of food production.

For the first time at the London event, there will be a dedicated schools day on Friday 7 October, allowing students an exclusive opportunity to speak to exhibitors and gain an insight into the huge range of Stem careers agriculture can offer.

Children crowd around an exhibit and New Scientist Live

© Telling Photography

Big kit, big ambitions

Featuring a 10m long combine from Agco and one of the latest tractors from John Deere, the Future of Food & Agriculture exhibit will be a magnet for machinery fans. Visitors can sit in the driving seat, hear how the machines work and enjoy a telemetry demo explaining how farmers use data to maximize productivity.

“We are perceived as a ‘closed shop’ and if you’re not from or have links to farming then you wouldn’t get a job. We all know this is not the case,” says Richard Charles, manager, aftersales training, dealer readiness and business development at Agco.

“We are trying to actively instill a small seed in the next generation’s minds that the ag industry is a viable career path. If you want to be an engineer, why not try agricultural engineering?” it adds.

Chris Wiltshire, marketing manager at John Deere for the UK and Ireland, says: “We want people who have never experienced agriculture and tractors before to be able to jump on and see what the inside of a really modern cab looks like and have a chat with people who work at John Deere who can explain the career paths that are open to them.”

A bird's eye view of the Future of Food & Agriculture exhibit

© Telling Photography

Target audience

Precision farm machinery company Garford will be bringing along one of its innovative weeding machines. “Farm equipment is high-tech and will be ever more so in the future,” says managing director Jonathan Henry.

The Garford team – and a 4m In Row demo machine – will be on hand to greet future data scientists, engineers, technicians and marketing professionals, and explain why the equipment industry is a critical link enabling farmers and growers to produce food to feed the world .

“One of our greatest challenges is to attract skilled engineers,” says Kuhn managing director Sian Pritchard. The company will also be showcasing a seed drill, with the intriguing invitation to attendees to come and see how the Maxima accessed GPS technology to create an incredible “moon landing” maize maze.

What else is on show?

Bugs and burps

“There’ll be bugs and creepy crawlies galore plus experts on hand to answer questions about Rothamsted’s groundbreaking science,” says head of communication and public engagement James Clark.

“We will be looking at the myths and the reality behind the much reported decline of insects, giving the public a chance to become DNA soil science detectives and finding out how a cow’s big burps can be made more climate friendly.”

Rothamsted's Cow Burpometer

Seeds are life

“KWS will be showcasing how plant breeding plays a key role in providing sustainable solutions for farmers,” says breeding station manager Gillian Covey.

Visitors will be challenged to recognize the plant that seeds grow into, as well as the products they go towards making.

Prizes will be on offer for correctly matched plants, seeds and products. “We aim to stimulate people’s interest to find the plant breeders and agricultural researchers of the future.”

Education matters

Representatives from both the University of Manchester and the Royal Agricultural University will be on hand to equip a new generation of graduates to meet some of the most pressing global challenges we face – not least food security.

“We aim to educate and enthuse our next generation on the breadth of opportunities and careers available in our sector that can make a real difference,” says RAU’s head of student recruitment, Liam Dowson.

The Future of Food & Agriculture team

Farmers Weekly is working with these organizations to bring the Future of Food & Agriculture exhibit to New Scientist Live.

New Scientists Live partner logos

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