Agri-tech, Food & Drink
Dorset has a very long and proud tradition of farming, which has helped to shape Dorset’s beautiful landscape.
Dorset dairy farming is of national importance, as they provide milk for London and the South East. Beef and sheep grazing maintain the landscape, and wheat, barley and rape are the key arable crops grown. Farming also plays a key part in the economic activity of rural Dorset.
Dorset is the home to Kingston Maurward College, which provides education and training in agriculture and farming. They have recently opened the LEP-funded Kingston Building, agri-tech centre, which comprises an agricultural classroom, an IT suite, a high spec workshop and machinery facilities including a fleet of tractors, a GPS tractor, plough, sprayer and variable rate drill. It helps to position Kingston Maurward College at the forefront of agricultural training facilities in the region.
Dorset's Invest in Agri-Tech is available to download here.
Game Changing Technolologies for Agriculture in Dorset conference
Game Changing Technolologies for Agriculture in Dorset conference held in May 2017 endeavoured to focus on the transfer of leapfrog technologies into agriculture to meet market demand and therefore what can change as a result.
Luke Rake, Principal of Kingston Maurward College and Chair of the Dorset LEP Rural Enterprise Group states “Kingston Maurward has a proud history of ensuring the next generation of Dorset farmers have the skills and technology they need to ensure food security for the country since its foundation some 70 years ago. Hosting the Agri-tech conference was a great opportunity to act as a hub for the sector, bringing the latest technology and thought-leaders together, to help exchange ideas and inspire the next generation of food producers. Technology continues to move at an increasing pace, and is now as focused on reducing costs, improving environmental sensitivity and sustainability as improving yields. By bringing together key players in the sector, Kingston Maurward was alive with activity during the day and this bodes very well for the future”.
Below are photos from the conference
As in other key sectors within the South West, the six Local Enterprise Partnerships are working together to promote the strength of the agri-tech sector with the Region to attract further inward investment and to focus attention on the centres of excellence within the region.
Weymouth is home to Cefas (Centre for Environment Fisheries & Aquaculture Science). Cefas is a world leader in marine science and technology, providing innovative solutions for the aquatic environment, biodiversity and food security.
Dorset is already home to many internationally recognised brands such as Organix, Jordans Ryvita, Dorset Cereals, Addo Food Group, Badger Beers, Thomas J Fudge, Clipper Teas, Olives et Al, Ford Farms, Chococo, Purbeck Ice Cream and Moores Biscuits. The area also prides itself on its wealth of local and artisan food and drink producers creating everything from fantastic cheeses and breads to gin and chutneys. Dorset proudly boasts two breweries preserved in their traditional family ownership: Hall & Woodhouse at Blandford St Mary and Palmers in Bridport. Both breweries have over 200 years of brewing history and expertise. Hall & Woodhouse currently operates 220 public houses across the South of England.
Several celebrity chefs have opened award-winning restaurants in Dorset in recent years, including Mark Hix of “The Ivy” and “Le Caprice” in London and now has his oyster house restaurant in Lyme Regis. The original River Cottage television series was filmed just outside Bridport with Hugh Fernley-Whitingstall promoting local produce and Lesley Waters runs her famed cookery school in Abbots Hill Farm in West Dorset. Altogether, they have helped to raise the profile of local, sustainably produced food.
There is a great range of local food and drink on offer in Dorset, including meat, fish, shellfish, fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy and cheese, wines, cider and beer. Additionally, Dorset has amazing producers of grocery and delicatessen items, as well as bakeries still baking in original family ownership.
Dorset Food & Drink is a member-based organisation with a special trademarked brand overseen by the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team. It represents Dorset's food and drink business community bringing a strong and vibrant sector together under one banner.
Bournemouth and Poole is a founding member of the international Sustainable Food City Network and has become the world’s first Sustainable Fish City. Many of Dorset’s products can be found on major supermarket shelves as well as in the food halls of famous stores such as Harrods and Selfridges in London. Industry specific help can be found from here.