The new wave of agricultural revolution and insect farming are set to be key discussion points at the next Lincolnshire Farming Conference, to be held on Tuesday February 11 at the Lincolnshire Showground.
Following a year that has seen a number of challenges for the Lincolnshire agricultural community, the theme of the upcoming conference will be ‘the future is now’.
The event will see key experts running workshops and discussing how the industry can adapt to the modern world and its demands.
Simon Day, chairman of the Lincolnshire Farming Conference Committee, said: “It’s more important than ever that we explore the ways in which we can collectively make improvements in our work – especially when it comes to maximising use of our natural environment whilst also maintaining and protecting it.
“Lincolnshire is one of the biggest agricultural counties, so it is fantastic that we are able to bring together these industry experts on our home soil to discuss how we can look forward to the brightest future possible for the industry.”
The conference is open from 11am to 5pm, with refreshments being available alongside networking opportunities.
Two workshop sessions will be held in the morning, with industry experts holding talks throughout the afternoon.
Workshop one – ‘Growing a healthy business for the future’ - will see Brown & Co advising on succession and getting the next generation into farming, Wilkin Chapman will cover how to make farms fit for the future and experts from HSBC UK will be sharing information on how to protect agricultural businesses from fraud and cybercrime.
The second workshop will focus on health, with discussions being led by Farmacy plc on healthy soils and cover crop work. Meanwhile the University of Lincoln will be covering healthy crops and management beyond resistance. Kelly Hewson-Fisher, catchment advisor at Anglian Water, will also lead attendees in a discussion about how pesticide losses from yards and fields can be reduced, as well as how improving the health of soil can lead to improvement in the quality of water.
After lunch, expert talks will be held, including the future of what consumer consumption could look like, which will be discussed by Adam Banks, director of the Woven Network and Nuffield scholar. With mounting pressures on farmers in the UK to provide more sustainable food sources for both consumers and animal feed, Adam will explore the opportunities for farming insects. He will also examine the challenges that come with marketing insects as food to a western audience and how negative attitudes towards entomophagy may be overcome to take farming down a new path.
The fourth agricultural revolution will also be up for discussion by Sam Watson-Jones, co-founder of Small Robot Company.
He will examine how farming, arguably the last analogue industry, is set to go digital, what the future of ‘ag-tech’ looks like and how farmers can get involved in shaping this next step.
The keynote speech – farming beyond Brexit - will be given by Stuart Roberts, a third generation arable and livestock farmer from Harpenden.
Stuart has served as Hertfordshire NFU County Chairman since 2015 and has service on both the East Anglian livestock and combinable crops board. He has also previously worked for Defra and the Food Standards Agency, has held senior management roles within the meat supply chain, and has served on the boards of Red Tractor and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.
Simon Day continued: “Brexit is, of course, an ongoing political situation, and as such will be on the table for discussion again in 2020.
“The presentation surrounding Brexit from the NFU was very well received, so we’re looking forward to welcoming Stuart Roberts, NFU’s Vice President, to continue the conversation on what the farming world will look like beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.
“The objectives of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society are the furtherance, welfare and progress of the industry and all professions and trade connected therewith.
“The world is currently changing at an increasing pace, bringing with it new and varied challenges, particularly for our industry.”
Sponsors of the Lincolnshire Farming Conference include CLAAS, University of Lincoln, Woldmarsh, Streets Chartered Accountants, Househam, Anglian Water, Wilkin Chapman LLP, OMEX, Jelf, Brown & Co and BionatureUK.
A reception hosted by the Impact Group, the Society’s networking group for under 35s, will also take place from 5pm, after the conference ends.
Tickets cost £15 for adults, £6 for students, with members of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society free to attend once registered, including lunch.
• To book a place at the conference, visit www.lincolnshireshowground.co.uk/whats-on/event/lincolnshire-agricultural-society-agm-and-lunch2020