When and where is it on?
The AgriTech Day will take place on Thursday November 22 at Skibbereen Community School. Registration is at 9.30 am, with kickoff at 10am. We are holding it in the school this year as part of our community outreach programme, and our partnership with the school. The event is being run in partnership with AIB and Carbery Group.How many years has it been going?

This is the second year that we’ve run a standalone AgriTech Day. Though for the previous two years, we included an AgriTech element in our National Digital Week conferences.

What was the inspiration to start it?
Showcasing developments in the tech world is part of Ludgate’s role and given the importance of the agricultural sector to the West Cork economy, we thought that it was appropriate to hold an event that brings the two together.

What exciting things can people look forward to?

The November 22 event will feature European, national and local experts from across the sector, particularly in relation to the bio-economy and how West Cork can benefit from developments in this area. Our second panel will look at current agricultural practices and question their sustainability – expect some robust debate at this session! Our final session will showcase some key innovations that are shaping the future of farming.

This year, we have something new on the programme. Ludgate and the Lions Club partnered to run a hackathon/ideation project with the local secondary schools. Transition year students have been working with a team of mentors to explore the use of technology in supporting food producers in West Cork in the marketing and distribution of their produce. The best ideas that emerged from the hackathon are being presented at the AgriTech Day, with a judging panel on place and prizes awarded on the day, including a week work experience at Carbery. It may be that the next Ludgate startup emerges from this event.

Who will be speaking?

After the huge interest in the bio-economy session at last year’s event, this year’s programme will again look at some key developments in this area. Joining us from Wageningen University in the Netherlands will be Prof. Johan Sanders, founder of the Grassa company which has developed small-scale, local and mobile biorefineries that process fresh grass into products such as protein juice, value-added sugars and fertiliser.

Another key speaker on this subject will be James Gaffey who is the Principal Investigator in Bioeconomy at the Institute of Technology in Tralee and co-ordinator of the Bio Refinery Glas project which is to be Ireland’s first small-scale grass biorefinery demonstration project which will be based in West Cork through the Carbery Group. Enda Buckley, Director of Sustainability at the Carbery Group will also speak about developments in the area at Carbery.

Donagh Berry, who heads up the new VistaMilk SFI Research Centre will also be a key speaker on the day, and promises to be controversial! This new research centre was opened last month and is jointly funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Department of Agriculture. Housed at Moorepark, the centre aims to assist the Irish dairy industry to be a world leader in fundamental and translational research for precision pasture-based dairying, with the outcomes impacting positively on the environment, animal well-being and the health of consumers. Prof Jerry Murphy from UCC and Tadhg Buckley, Head of Agriculture at AIB will also speak on this panel.

We’ll finish up with a panel looking at Technology in Farming, with Michael O’Donovan, Head of Grassland Science at Teagasc alongside award-winning Golden farmer Cathal O’Sullivan and Caroline O’Sullivan from Curtin’s Research Farm at Moorepark.

What tips would you give to people attending to get the most out of it?

As registration is at 9.30 am arrive in plenty of time. Our CEO Adrienne Harrington will give the opening remarks at 10.00. There is a lot going on so make your self comfortable, coffee and lunch will be provided for those attending. As with all Ludgate events, this offers you an opportunity to connect with like minded people and promote yourself amongst peers.

How can people book tickets / when does it usually sell out?

You can purchase ticket from Eventbrite AgriTech Day. AIB customers can call to their local branch to pick up a free ticket

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?
Do you have an idea for a new business in the AgriTech area? If so, do you know that Ludgate as its own seed fund, with startups encouraged to apply – see https://www.ludgate.ie/seed-funding for more information.

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