There’s a new name in agricultural education in the UK following the University of Hertfordshire’s announcement that it’s creating a new Centre for Agriculture, Food and Environmental Management.
A new collaboration between the Hatfield-based university, the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and Rothamsted Research, the initiative will provide a world-class centre for education and research in food production, food supply, environmental management and sustainability. The courses, including compulsory work experience for undergraduate students, will equip graduates with knowledge and skills to lead and inform sustainable agriculture and food security.
Announcing the new centre, the vice-chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, Quintin McKellar, explained the need for action to avoid food crisis and described how the university, together with its partners, planned to tackle the challenge of a cost-effective and robust food system to ensure UK food security.
“This new partnership will draw on the combined expertise to lead research into some of the most pressing issues affecting every aspect of food production in the UK – from the farm to our table,” he said. “We will undertake research into aspects of animal and plant production that will contribute to national food security, as well as educating the next generation of agriculture and food chain specialists.”
The deputy principal at the RVC, Professor Stephen May, added that the challenges for ensuring that we continue to have affordable and safe meat on our plates have never been greater.
“World demand is increasing, and at the same time UK consumers rightly demand quality-assured, welfare-friendly products,” he said. “The veterinary profession will play an essential part in progress in this field and, as the largest UK veterinary school, the RVC looks forward to making its own substantial contribution to this Centre.”
The director and chief executive of Rothamsted Research, Professor Maurice Moloney, said he was delighted to play a part in the initiative within Hertfordshire.
“The vision of the vice-chancellor in the face of major challenges in food security worldwide is both timely and opportune,” he added. “This coincides with a substantial investment from BBSRC to develop Rothamsted’s Harpenden campus.
“With our world-leading crop and soil science research and these new facilities, we’ll make a substantial contribution towards fulfilling Professor McKellar’s vision for the university and for the County of Hertfordshire.”