The growth in the use of high-tech gadgetry in farming applications has increased dramatically in recent years – but a West Lothian farmer is set to play a key role in ensuring that the future development of such technology is both appropriate and practical to the industry.
While smartphones and smart TVs have been around for a while, the time has now arrived for smart farmers. And in what could be viewed as a clear case of nominative determinism, the UK’s representative on the €30 million European Agritech pilot project – which aims to develop this area – is Linlithgow farmer Jamie Smart.
Currently chairman of NFU Scotland’s legal and technical committee, Smart will represent UK farming interests on a large scale trial of agricultural technology – feeding in the views of what grassroots farmers need on the ground from the extensive range of technologies currently available.
While the EC-funded project will encourage companies and industry organisations from the telecoms, communications and agricultural machinery sectors to come up with smart farming applications the organisers realised that it was crucial to have practical farming voices feeding in from the beginning of the project.
“Farming is becoming increasingly technological and it is already commonplace for farmers to be using computers and electronics in their daily routines,” said Smart.
“It is hugely important that practical farmers have a say in the development of these advances rather than big companies trying to sell us products which benefit them but do little for the industry.”