AgriTech: going for growth in Lincolnshire
The uncoupling of UK farming from the Basic Payment Scheme post-Brexit sees operators in the sector looking at subsidy schemes based on the ELMS system - Environmental Land Management. Ongoing geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East are serving to highlight just how fragile food supply chains are globally.
These two factors - along with many others, not the least of which are NetZero targets and other environmental imperatives - serve to highlight why there has been, and will continue to be, a focus on the role of technology and innovation in maximising food cultivation and production.
And from what we are observing and, indeed, experiencing in property agency deals, Lincolnshire is a county at the forefront of this newest phase of farming innovation called ‘AgriTech’.
The University of Lincoln is one of the leading academic institutions attracting research funding in this fast-growing sector where, artificial intelligence and robotics are playing a key role.
Towards the end of last year, ((https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-67455430?utm_campaign=Oktopost-November+2023+Advocate+News+Articles&utm_content=Oktopost-LinkedIn&utm_medium=social&utm_source=LinkedIn)) the University’s Institute of Agri-food Technology (LIAT) received The Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of the role it plays in innovation in what is estimated to be the UK’S £100 billion agri-food sector.
Earlier last autumn, there was a focus on the University’s work with the ((https://www.businessweekly.co.uk/news/academia-research/cambridge-and-lincoln-universities-awarded-%C2%A349m-supercharge-global-agritech)) University of Cambridge when both received a £4.9 million grant for research & development centred on making the combined areas - the LINCAM region - an ‘AgriTech gateway to the world’.
Away from the world of academia, Eddisons would argue that our patch is already showcasing its AgriTech credentials to an international audience in citing a number of property deals we concluded towards the end of last year.
We acted as joint agent with Fisher German, on behalf of the landlord, in a deal which saw the Norwegian firm, ((https://sagarobotics.com/)) Saga Robotics take a lease on 7,740 sq ft of ground and first floor office space out of a total of 11,000 sq ft of business accommodation in the G Tech Building on Lincoln’s Firth Road Business Park - just a short walk from the University of Lincoln’s city centre campus.
The global agricultural machinery brand, ((https://www.maschiogaspardo.com/en/web/international)) Maschio Gaspardo chose to locate the HQ of its new UK operation at Swinderby Industrial Park, Witham St Hughs, Lincoln, in a deal in which we acted alongside the Park’s managers, ((https://eqtexeter.com/)) EQT Exeter to secure the Italian-based firm as the new tenant for the 20,239 sq ft premises.
A Dutch-owned crop storage engineering business started 2024 in newly leased 15,898 sq ft warehouse & office premises on((https://www.eddisons.com/news/new-grantham-location-gives-dutch-owned-agri-tech-business-room-to-grow/)) Grantham’s Mallard Business Park.
The deal meant ((https://www.farmelec.co.uk/)) Farm Electronics Ltd, who manufacture ventilation & refrigeration crop storage equipment, could consolidate from two sites on Grantham’s Alma Park Trading Estate to one single site.
Undoubtedly, Lincolnshire benefits from the legacy of its agricultural heritage in laying the very strong foundations for today’s burgeoning AgriTech sector’s presence here.
But in the property deals we are conducting, it’s the county’s logistical reach that’s also strongly in play when attracting international operators.
Lincoln - and the wider county - is uniquely placed in the UK, connecting the Humber Freeports with the heart of the Midlands Industrial Engine. Further major road improvements are impending, reinforcing the strategic links to the country’s dynamic economic corridors.
These deals make the case that international eyes and investment are already firmly focused on Lincolnshire’s offer when it comes to AgriTech. It’s a growing sector in all senses of the word.
Research & development and future innovation and enterprise, spearheaded by the University of Lincoln and its partners in the sector, will shine a brighter light on what the county has to offer in this exciting & increasingly important global business sector.