Nottingham Farm Conference 2017


The Nottingham Farm Conference 2017 – jointly organised by the East Midlands Farm Management Association, the IAgrM and University of Nottingham and held on the 12th January at Sutton Bonington  - attracted 100 delegates with an excellent line of up speakers – Prof Tim Lang (City University), Philip Bicknell (AHDB), Alex Steel (Syngenta), Caroline Drummond (LEAF) and Julie Robinson (Roythornes).  With a theme of looking beyond Brexit to explore future market opportunities and challenges, the morning began with Prof Lang highlighting the need to reconnect farming with consumers, and a call to focus on the health of the population, in particular by incentivising and increasing horticulture in the UK.  Phil Bicknell then noted the changing consumption patterns of consumers and looked to new opportunities provided by the growing global middle class, in particular in Asia.  In the afternoon, Alex Steel explained the changing regulatory environment that impacts on crop protection developments and highlighted a range of exciting new developments in the agricultural input market, many of which looked beyond things that ‘came in a can’. Caroline Drummond highlighted the work of LEAF in meeting Prof Lang’s call for a reconnection with consumers, and noted the excellent work that LEAF undertakes.  Her paper reinforced the need for food products that delivered better environmental and human health, but that were profitable to produce.  The conference was skilfully and entertainingly summed up by Julie Robinson, pulling the key themes of the conference together through the lens of developing a UK agricultural policy that took us through deficiency payments, production constraints and environmental schemes, to get us back to a form of basic farm payment – perhaps the future will be circular? Many thanks to conference sponsors: Andersons, Anglia Farmers, HSBC, NSF International, Roythornes, Syngenta and the University of Nottingham