Forward Thinking Raises The Profile Of UK Farming

10th December 2013

Recently I had the privilege of attending the annual Nuffield Farming Conference in Cardiff.

A fantastic two day event in which the audience listened to some excellent, forward thinking presentations from this year’s Nuffield Scholars.

For those who aren’t aware, the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust is an organisation with its roots purely linked to the promotion of good agricultural practice and awards individuals with an opportunity to explore and expand on a chosen subject with a view to developing agricultural sector leaders and innovators of the future. A scholarship aims to advance the standard of UK farming, including the food supply chain, horticulture, forestry and countryside management by enabling the study of practices and techniques employed anywhere in the world.

The annual conference is an opportunity for those who have been awarded scholarships to present their findings. This year, conference heard from 20 scholars presenting on a wide range of topics across the industry. Titles included; ‘Land Drainage and its future in farming’, ‘Practical opportunities to eradicate Johnes disease in cattle’ and ‘modernising the game industry’. Reading the reports and listening to the presentations, it was clear that each scholar had tackled their chosen subject with conviction and learned from their traveling experience. Reports were fresh thinking and aimed to address and combat the challenges their sector face whilst also promoting new innovations, discoveries and improvements explored and sought across the globe.

Knowledge share is vitally important within our industry as ultimately it drives forward progress, efficiency and raises the standard of UK Farming. This year a couple of papers touched on food security, with one focusing on how beef production may adapt to change in global food culture and the other addressing solutions to combat food chain dysfunctionality.

As an industry our role is primarily to provide food, to feed the mouths of the nation and the world. These two papers addressed some of the main concerns we will face over the next 30 to 50 years, as global population is expected to dramatically increase and meat consumed per capita is also expected to rise over the same period. The global food market is already changing with the far east; India and China having a huge influence. Limiting factors were addressed; the finite resource of land, striking the balance between farming and the environment, and water supply. Whatever your interest within the agricultural sector, this is a subject which will affect us all over the course of the next 50 years and industry will have to adapt to meet demand.

Of course, there are also many other valuable functions which the agricultural sector vitally plays a significant part; such as within the energy market, mines and minerals, leisure, agri-tourism and sporting. Conference also covered papers on some of these topics which were equally engaging and well worth a read.

It was invigorating to see so many people passionate about their chosen subject and driven to ensure that their findings contribute to the success of our farming, food and rural industry as a whole. I would highly recommend you all to explore what the Nuffield experience has to offer and to read up on the papers issued by past Scholars – I guarantee your thought process will change.

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