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Brundish: Salami maker wins slice of agri-tech grants award

06:00 08 June 2014

Ian and Sue Whitehead, owners of Lane Farm Foods, which has scooped an agri-tech grant.

Ian and Sue Whitehead, owners of Lane Farm Foods, which has scooped an agri-tech grant.

Bruce Head Photographer ©

A Suffolk salami maker is among four businesses in the East to benefit from an agri-tech grants windfall.

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Lane Farm Country Foods, based in Brundish, near Framlingham, will be able to upgrade its existing production operation to bring it under one roof after it was among the first wave of grants awarded under the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative. It shares a pot of £250,000 with the three other firms.

The business, run by pig farmers Ian and Sue Whitehead, will be able to increase the efficiency of its operation, enabling it to expand production.

The development will also provide greater flexibility of production allowing the team, which produces a range of pork products including bacon, to develop and expand new lines more quickly in the future.

Ian Whitehead from Lane Farm Country Foods, said: “We are really thrilled to have been awarded this grant under the Agri-Tech programme. The money will kick-start the next stage of our expansion plans creating new jobs as well as securing existing ones. We have always worked hard on the quality of our products and this grant will enable us to invest in new technology and infrastructure to help us maintain this together with the development of new lines.”

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative’s £3.2 million grants pot is aimed at helping local businesses to deliver innovative new projects.

The other successful projects included KisanHub in Cambridge, which has created a cloud-based, integrated software platform that allows farmers to make informed decisions about their day-to-day operations and markets. The funding will be used to develop and trial a Crop Yield Prediction, Irrigation and Fertiliser recommendation model that uses satellite data and meteorological information to support on the ground decisions.

The third successful applicant was Dofygate Limited, of Calthorpe near Norwich, Dofygate, which will develop the marketplace and processes for its innovative automated farm gate system, which is solar powered.

Pangaea Agrochemical, based in Norwich and Cambridge, which specialises in finding solutions to pests and weeds that have become resilient to existing pesticides, will use the funding to develop a formulated product that can control resistant weed species using active ingredients that have had efficacy in the past. The funding will accelerate the development of this technology and allow the team to run further trials in the local area.

Mark Reeve, chairman of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Our funding has been designed to support a wide-range of businesses in the Agri-Tech sectors, from research and development of new products right through to food processing and packaging. The first round of successful grant applicants reflects the diversity of the funding we have available, and the significant positive impact it can have both on the businesses and the wider Agri-Tech community.

“I would encourage businesses in our local area to find out more about the grant funding we have available, and I look forward to making even more funding announcements in the near future.”

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, said: “We are delighted to be working with our colleagues at Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough LEP on this initiative and it is tremendous to see the first businesses in our area benefiting from these grants. We are fighting hard for the rural economy ensuring the availability of strong business support and expertise and this kind of initiative will help deliver the skills and growth that will drive the region forward.”

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative provides grants of between £10,000 and £150,000 to businesses based in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk, Suffolk, Rutland, North Hertfordshire, or Uttlesford.

The funding has been provided by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund following a successful application submitted by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) alongside New Anglia LEP, Norfolk County Council, and Cambridgeshire County Council. In total, the partnership has secured £3.2 million of funding for the Agri-Tech sector that must be used by March 2015.

Businesses can find out more about the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative by visiting www.agritechgrants.co.uk or calling Project Manager Martin Lutman on 01480 277180 or emailing info@agritechgrants.co.uk.

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative team will also be at Cereals 2014 on 11th and 12th June at Duxford, and will be happy to talk people through the application process.

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