BIG READ: New south Tipperary agricultural technology targets rural crime issue

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A new south Tipperary agricultural technology (AgTech) start-up has won a prized place on the Enterprise Ireland funded New Frontiers Phase II Entrepreneur Development Programme worth €45,000 in supports to participants including interactive workshops, personalised one-to-one mentoring, financial support and co-working space.

FarmProtect.ie is a start-up planning to manufacture an innovative new technology solution to help fight rural crime on farms more effectively than previously possible.

With many farms being remotely isolated, research suggests that as many as two in every three experience incidences of on-farm crimes including damage, trespass and theft.

The team is led by Brendon McLoughlin who is no stranger to the AgTech sector as the innovative technical designer of on-farm technology solutions.

Systems designed by him in the past have been utilised in the UK, US and over 95% of pedigree cattle and sheep breed societies in Ireland.

When asked about the project, Brendon explained: “We’re developing an intelligent intrusion detection solution for deployment in rural settings.

“With over 136,000 family farms in Ireland, rural crime is a major problem negatively impacting on rural lives and livelihoods.

“The FarmProtect.ie team are focused on developing a solution that works on farms including those potential 45,000 farms who may never realise the full benefits of the planned fibre broadband national rollout.”

Mr McLoughlin went on to explain the team’s mission as: “We want to return confidence to victims and reduce vulnerability especially for repeat victims of on-farm crimes including trespass, damage and theft to better protect their families and livelihoods against the negative financial and psychological impacts of rural crime.”

The New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme is delivered annually for the South East region by Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow and is being hosted in the ArcLabs Research & Innovation Centre in Waterford.

Over an intensive six month period, participants learn how to establish and run a new high growth company. When asked about the benefits of winning a place on the Enterprise Ireland funded New Frontier’s programme Mr McLoughlin said:

“Winning a place gives us a framework to validate the market as a vital part of our on-farm prototype testing which is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2021.

“We also plan to commence ‘micro-manufacturing’ products in south Tipperary at the end of 2021 in advance of exporting products to the UK and Europe within 24 months.”

In the meantime, the team continues their ongoing research, development and innovation of next-generation technology products for more effective on-farm crime prevention in rural communities.

Brendon has published research findings via the AgCrime.ie website and interested parties can contact the team via the FarmProtect.ie website or on social media.