The art of debating is alive and well judging by the performances of young farmers in the Young Advocates for Agriculture competition, held at Cereals this week.


Teams from the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, and Easton College, Norwich competed on the motion: “This house believes that British consumers do not need to feed themselves from British farms”.

It was a lively debate organised by the National Farm Research Unit in association with David Bolton Partners and the Worshipful Company of Farmers.

Two RAC students, Angharad Evans and Jess Saunters, who were speaking in favour of the motion were the winners by convincing the audience and judges that Britain did not have the capacity to be self-sufficient, nor was it good for food security, food safety or for consumers. They argued that any attempt to stop food imports and focus on home-grown produce only would lead to further intensification of agriculture and have serious consequences for the British diet, the environment and economy.

The Easton College, Kate Ockelton and Philip Banham, opposed the motion by making the point that consumers should have much more faith in the value of British farming and not rely on overseas products.

All four students will benefit from one days media training, supplied by the BBC’s environmental correspondent Tom Heap, as their prize for participating.

From left to right: Pic caption: Angharad Evans and Jess Saunters, RAC; Meurig Raymond, NFU deputy president; Kate Ockelton and Philip Banham, Easton College.