Agri-TechE at the centre
“We were delighted to welcome Governor Parson and the Missouri delegation for one of the first US state-level visits to the UK this year,” said Alan Gogbashian, British Consul General to the Midwest based in Chicago. “As Missouri’s exports to the UK top $1.4 billion, agri-tech represents a rich vein of innovation for both our economies. And Agri-TechE sits at the very centre of our shared ambitions for further growth.”
For Dr Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-TechE, it was an opportunity to meet the Governor and First Lady in person: “Although the pandemic has accelerated the acceptance of many aspects of digital agriculture, farming is still about people and the real world. The mission with Missouri has been invaluable in building business relationships and creating wider understanding of mutual opportunities and we are delighted to progress this with the Governor.”
Agriculture $94 billion industry
Annually, agriculture is a $94 billion industry in Missouri and nearly 50 per cent of US crop and livestock production is located within 500 miles of the state. The ag cluster includes international ag and food corporations and centres of plant science research including Bayer Crop Science’s Global Seeds and Traits HQ.
So, Missouri is a good launch point for companies looking to engage with US food production.
“As Missouri’s Governor, I look forward to the opportunity to strengthen relationships with business partners in the United Kingdom,” Governor Parson said. “For decades, Missouri and the U.K. have enjoyed a unique connection that is both culturally and economically significant. Given the importance of international trade, we’re grateful for this chance to promote Missouri agriculture and technology, among other strengths that make the Show-Me State an ideal business location.”
Chance to showcase diversity of agri-tech ecosystem
The meeting on 18th March 2022, was hosted by the crop science organisation NIAB. Of particular interest to the Governor, who rears beef cattle, is the work on using naturally occurring microorganisms to unlock fertility in soil, improving the nutritional value of grass and reducing the need for inorganic fertiliser.
The 2020 mission was co-funded by the UK government Department for International Trade. Agri-Tech Lead Elizabeth Warham said: “We are delighted that the Governor is taking this opportunity to consolidate the relationships that have been made with many members of the UK’s vibrant agri-tech ecosystem and look forward to seeing these collaborations prosper.”
Agri-TechE members meeting the Governor included:
Wyld Networks, simplifying sensor to satellite connectivity;
Small Robot Company, developing robotics to support a ‘per-plant’ approach to agriculture which provides timely interventions to ensure crop health;
PBD Biotech, developers of rapid blood test for tuberculosis in humans and animals;
The Willand Group which is developing an intelligent facility that offers the potential of net zero livestock production was also part of the mission.