Tech entrepreneur and fourth generation arable farmer Sam Watson Jones is to speak to hundreds of guests at the Guild’s Harvest Lunch in October.
This year’s flagship Guild event takes place on Thursday, 17 October, at Painters’ Hall, London, following a Harvest Service at nearby St Bride’s Church.
Sam is the co-founder of the Small Robot Company – a business with aspirations to revolutionise in-field automation on UK farms.
Convinced robots can challenge the ‘bigger is better’ mentality towards investments in machinery, Sam and co-founder Ben Scott-Robinson say agriculture is on the cusp of a new technological era.
They say the robots being trialled on UK farms now will have a fundamental impact on how crops are grown and how the countryside looks in the future.
Sam, who farms in Shropshire, said: “Average crop yields haven’t really changed in 25 years but the cost of machinery has risen relentlessly.
“It suddenly stopped making sense to go on buying larger and larger pieces of kit and to have to change the countryside to make them work efficiently.”
At the Harvest Lunch, Sam will outline how his company initially formed a partnership with 20 leading growers, covering 4,000 hectares of farmland.
Overall, the company has secured more than £2.5m of backing to develop its mission, including more than £1.2m from a crowdfunding initiative.
“It will be a pleasure to talk to the Guild’s members and their guests about what we have achieved so far and where we want to go,” he said.
“Agricultural communicators have an important role to play telling growers about the innovations happening right here and now and they have the power to inspire.”
The Harvest Lunch offers members and guests the opportunity to socialise and network with key movers and shakers in UK agriculture while enjoying fantastic food and drink.
Tickets for the event will go on sale soon. Members will be informed via email and the Guild website.