Strategic SmartHort Centres

Would you like to be at the cutting edge of improving labour efficiency in horticulture?

We are now looking for three new hosts from horticulture to become part of the strategic farm network across the country with a focus on improving labour efficiency as part of the SmartHort campaign.

For a minimum of a year, these Strategic Centres will put theory into practice and focus on improving productivity in relation to labour. In doing so, they provide a highly effective vehicle for driving the horticulture industry forward.

The benefits of being a Strategic SmartHort Centre:

  • Extra support and resources to help improve management practice and improvement opportunities
  • Opportunity to act as a figurehead for your industry and shape the conversation
  • Everything taken care of for you: We will facilitate on-site activities and events as well as handling all communications and promotional activities
  • Chance to work with experts and peers to implement new ideas to increase labour efficiency in your business
  • Be a part of our cutting-edge national Farm Excellence network

What you need to be a Strategic SmartHort Centre host

Your business will be a key part of this exciting process, so we are looking for open-minded, forward-thinking growers who enjoy working with others.

  • A positive outlook to improving your business
  • An openness to exchange ideas and share your experiences with other growers at on-site meetings and events 
  • An enthusiasm to work with industry experts and host demonstrations on your site

Strategic Farmer View: 

Andrew Francis, former AHDB strategic potato farmer  

Driving change in your region

The aims of this initiative are to get growers and farmers working together and discussing how to make positive and practical changes to improve productivity.

Adding local knowledge and experience to the latest business improvement practices increases the speed at which new techniques are adopted in a given area.

The host will be a key part of this exciting process, so we are looking for enthusiastic, open minded, forward-thinking growers who enjoy working with others.

What is a Strategic SmartHort Centre?

Strategic SmartHort Centres will provide growers with a platform to explore the potential for new labour saving, quality enhancing practices and techniques.

They will work alongside experts and peers, giving them the confidence to implement new ideas to increase labour efficiency on their own farms.

We looking to engage three forward-thinking commercial horticultural businesses. To ensure relevance across the horticulture sectors, we are a looking for:

  • Three diverse production styles (e.g. Glasshouse, Field and Orchard)
  • Three distinct areas of Great Britain to ensure as many growers as possible have the chance to engage at events and meetings.

Selection of the successful hosts will need to take the above factors into account, as well as further details in their application form.

How does the Strategic Farm programme work?

AHDB will provide the funding to commission Fedden USP, a well-established and recognised business and management consultancy to lead the host site through a season of activities to increase productivity and innovation.

What we ask from our hosts is:

  • Areas in your production sites which can be used for three events across the season/project
  • An open-minded attitude from you and your team
  • The willingness to act as a figurehead for press communications and events based on your farm
  • An enthusiasm to discuss what is happening at your business with other local growers and consultants

Hosts will be supported throughout the project by members of the SmartHort industry steering group which includes AHDB and others that the hosts feel can make a valuable contribution.

The focus of the sites will be on management practice and improvement opportunities and will not involve crop specific research implementation.

Growers would be encouraged to attend events and follow progress of their local Strategic SmartHort Centre.

Contact us today for an informal chat

We'd be happy to chat to anyone who thinks they could be interested in hosting either over the phone or over coffee at your farm office.

Please contact Grace Emeny (SmartHort Knowledge Exchange Manager at AHDB) grace.emeny@ahdb.org.uk or 024 7647 8886 by 14 March 2019 

CLICK HERE TO APPLY