Ag Tech News

Unique full-scale educational farm in northern Israel

Starting with wheat fields and an almond grove, a full-scale sustainable educational farm now taking root in Israel’s Jezreel Valley will be an international showcase for cutting-edge Israeli technologies in precision agriculture, high-yield growth with less water, and preventing soil erosion and infestation.

“This is unique in the world,” says Prof. Hanan Eizenberg of the Neve Ya’ar Research Center, one of three such centers run by the Volcani Center-Agricultural Research Organization of the Israeli Agriculture Ministry. “You can’t find a large-scale model farm for precision farming anywhere else.”

Plans for the teaching farm were announced today by the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which gave a $4.8 million grant to support development of the 123-acre Neve Ya’ar farm as an innovative, economically viable and environmentally sustainable program to educate farmers and researchers in Israel and worldwide.

Staffed by Volcani experts, the model farm will be supported by an on-site laboratory, which will expedite the otherwise lengthy process of applying findings to the field. Trainings, seminars and workshops will be offered on a regular basis.

““The small experimental-sized fields of most model farms means that their results cannot be reliably scaled to industrial fields,” Volcani International COO Tali Gottlieb explains to ISRAEL21c.

“In our large fields we will be able to implement experiments so that the results are scale-able and directly relevant to farmers. We’re hoping to encourage farmers to adopt these practices by educating them about the science and economic viability of our recommended protocols.”

Gottlieb said Volcani researchers are considering how to adapt the innovations for different climatic regions across the world. “Agricultural ministers and other officials from abroad will be invited to come and see what we offer,” she says.

Additional model farms could be established in other parts of Israel so that visitors could choose the farm with the most similar climate. However, many of the technologies to be implemented at Neve Ya’ar will address universal issues such as problems with fertilizer drift.


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