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A Review Of The The Nottingham Farm Conference 2019 – Future Of Farming: Global Perspectives – Jointly Organised By The East Midlands Farm Management Association, The IAgrM And University Of Nottingham And Held On The 10th January At Sutton Bonington

A Review of the The Nottingham Farm Conference 2019 – Future of Farming: Global Perspectives – jointly organised by the East Midlands Farm Management Association, the IAgrM and University of Nottingham and held on the 10th January at Sutton Bonington

Date Published: 11/01/2019

The Nottingham Farm Conference 2019 – Future of Farming: Global Perspectives – jointly organised by the East Midlands Farm Management Association, the IAgrM and University of Nottingham and held on the 10th January at Sutton Bonington - attracted 100 delegates with an excellent line of up speakers – Joe Healy (Irish Farmers Association), Kathy Roussel (AHDB Brussels), Corma O’Shea (University of Nottingham), John Giles (Promar), Tori Morgan (NFU) and Nigel Francis (Agrii).  With the Brexit Deal (or no deal!) vote only days away, the theme of Brexit and Trade negotiations and impacts was high on the agenda, complemented by looking out to Australasia and to how the rest of the world views the UK.  The morning began with Joe Healy highlighting the major production increases in Ireland over the last 30 years, and the major trading links that exist between Ireland and the UK. With a call for a Brexit outcome that allows farmers and Agri-food business to continue to trade post-Brexit, Joe provided an impassioned presentation touching on our shared values, history, standards and costs of production that demonstrated a striking similarity of challenges and opportunities between Ireland and the UK.  Kathy Roussel brought a wealth of experience of, and insight from, the “Brussels-Bubble” clarifying numerous uncertainties, detailing how processes actually happen, and highlighting the contrasting approaches of the UK and EU negotiators as they have strived to generate an agreement for the UK’s EU departure; the devil is often in the detail, and Kathy interpreted the Brexit jargon and terminologies, providing the audience with a clearer understanding of the issues.  Cormac O’Shea took the delegates away from Brexit and informed the conference about Australian agriculture and trade more generally, and in particular about the different approaches that Australia takes to their pig and poultry sectors in comparison to Europe – and the advantages and disadvantages that these bring.  With major immigrant population growth projected in Australia, some major opportunities emerged.  In the afternoon, and drawing on his extensive travels, John Giles explored how the rest of the world views the UK, noting that we should be both more upbeat and positive about ourselves and the high value agri-food market within the UK, but also mindful that there are numerous nations quickly developing, providing both new agri-food opportunities and challenges.  John’s conclusion that of all his travels, the place he is happiest at is Reading, left our largely Midland’s audience bemused!  Returning to the future for agriculture post Brexit, Tori Moran explained the impact of deal or no deal on trade in different sectors, detailed the NFU’s work on lobbying government on the new Agriculture Bill, labour challenges, trade relationships and policy directions. Tori set out the NFU’s position of broad support for “the deal” and called on farmers to be prepared for both deal, and no deal, outcomes.  Arguably the greatest challenge of the day was left to Nigel Francis in summing up the day, pulling together key themes and messages and leaving the delegates in upbeat tone against the background uncertainty of the start to 2019.  Many thanks to conference sponsors: Agrii, The Andersons Centre, Anglia Farmers, HSBC, Roythornes, Syngenta and the University of Nottingham.