The core questions at the heart of the nextOxford Farming Conference (OFC) will be: where are the opportunities inagriculture? How can they be funded? And how should farms be operated for thefuture?
Commenting on next year’s event, which runsfrom 6-8 January 2014, Adrian Ivory, Co-Chairman of the 2014 Conference said:”Driving the debate will be the OFC’s sixth piece of industry researchwhich investigates the structure, processes and relationships needed toestablish a truly competitive UK agriculture sector beyond the nextdecade.”
“The research report we’ve commissionedis likely to be controversial, because it highlights the need for changes tohow farms are operated and funded, some of which will be unpalatable to thosewho prefer working within the status quo,” he adds.
The research project has been produced forthe OFC by a Bidwells led consortium, sponsored by Burges Salmon, Syngenta andVolac.
Opportunities for agriculture cannot begrasped unless the political environment is conducive to doing so; so havingfirsthand access to politicians is a key part of Oxford. Both the Commissionerfor Agriculture, Dacian Ciolo, and the Secretary of State for Defra, OwenPaterson, will deliver papers at the start of an important political year forfarming. They will be joined by Simon Coveney, the Irish Minister forAgriculture who was recently involved in CAP negotiations under Ireland’s EUPresidency, and Peter Kendall, NFU President.
The OFC prides itself in bringing inspiringbusiness operators and leaders to the platform; those joining 2014’s line-upjust happen to be doing so in the rural economy. They include Hans Henrik Koefoed , CEO of Ingleby Farms & Forests; agroup of family farms in Australia, New Zealand, South America, Romania and theUnited States. This session will include Chris Musgrave, Managing Director ofMusgrave Management Systems, who manages four UKestates, and by two young Scottish businesswomen – rural tourism operatorCaroline Millar and dairy farmer, Sally Wilson.
Other speakers include: Forbes Elworthy ofCraigmore, the New Zealand farming investment company; Gerry Moye, President atCOBB, the global poultry genetics company; George Freeman MP and SimonBlackmore from Harper Adams University College.
The Oxford Union Debate will see twopoliticians debate the motion: “This house believes that green energy isnot worth the carbon it takes to produce.” Proposing the motion is RogerHelmer, UKIP MEP, and opposing the motion is Natalie Bennett, Leader of theGreen Party.
Those wanting to attend OFC 2014 can nowbook online at www.ofc.org.uk.Full details about the Conference, the venue and the programme can be found at www.ofc.org.uk.Online bookings will be taken from 21 October 2013 via the same website. The2014 Oxford Farming Conference will take place on the 6-8 January 2014.