Agricultural Sciences and Food Sector is an important part of Suffolk’s economy, worth over £400 million from ‘field to fork’ including growing, production, processing, packaging, distribution, festivals and tourism.
Looking further afield, there are around 300,000 active farms in the UK, with an average size of 57 hectares (much larger than the European average of 20 hectares). It is predicted that food production needs to double by 2050 or we’ll go hungry. Almost half of Suffolk's land is used for cereal farming of wheat, barley and other crops including biofuels. Pig and poultry farming are very important to agriculture with over 20% of the UK’s outdoor reared pork originating from Suffolk, as well as millions of chickens and turkeys, which are increasingly free range.
Jobs in this sector are diverse and offer something at every level from manual to high tech. The range of pathways reflect this, with employers recruiting via Apprenticeships, full time employment and offering post graduate schemes. The sector desperately needs technically capable, reliable and motivated hard workers. People who understand the practicalities of farming but who can also embrace emerging complex land based technology.
Looking to the future, agriculture embraces high tech solutions and drones, self-driving tractors and robotic animal care have been hinted at for the future, right now agriculture needs employees.
Local companies operating in this sector are:
Claas, Aspalls, Earnest Doe, Adnams, Thurlow Nunn, Bernard Matthews, Tuckwells, Muntons, and Pepsico. Niche food producers include: Jules & Sharpie, Stokes Sauces, Purely Pesto, Sutton Hoo Chickens, Blythburgh Pork and Dingley Dell Pork.
Easton & Otley will have an Agri Village in the Cattle Building this year with horses in the stables on site and animal pens with live sheep tagging and cow weighing demonstrations at the front of the entrance. Other activities in this and the Higher Education Sector will include
- Tractor Simulator
- Equine Simulator
- Arboriculture chipper
- Insect eating/Bug challenge
- making dice with the public
- plastering table for moulds
- demonstrations of brickwork and plastering
- plumbing header tank and electric sign
- spark plug challenge
- pit bikes
- model roof to remove rafters and replace