HEAD of agriculture at NatWest, Simon Jones, is convinced that farming faces a period of change and opportunity.
He has been working with farmers for 20 years and believes that although their future will undoubtedly be influenced more by factors beyond the farm-gate, there remains much farmers can do.
"Theres a real political appetite for reform of CAP and with modulation already beginning to take effect, we are going to move further and further away from production-based subsidies and more towards rural and environmentally related payments with the consumer the focus of attention," he says.
"It is our intention to improve delegates awareness of the forces and influences at work on farm businesses and to focus their attention on the parts of their business that they can change and restructure.
"These seminars will guide delegates through the whole change process and review key options for alternative farm enterprises, more effective use of buildings and diversification. We will also be encouraging some outside-the-box style thinking and attitude to tackling problems and making the most of new opportunities."
Newark Showground conference programme*
9.30am Chairmans address Robert Burrell, farmer
9.40am Market Opportunities/Business Assessment Simon Jones, head of NatWest Agriculture
10.10am Determining Direction/Maximising Resources/Managing Risk Philip Wynn, Aubourn Farming
10.40am Finding Your Way Around Planning And Grants Peter Hayman, Business Link
11.45am New And Developing Market Opportunities – Alternative Farm Enterprises Melvyn Askew, CSL, Cliff Spencer and David Coupland, Springdale Crop Synergies
2.30pm Maximising Returns From Farm Buildings Rupert Clarke, Smiths Gore
3.00pm Non-Traditional Farm Thinking Simon Mountjoy, Brown & Co, and Les Johnson, farmer
3.20pm Questions and debate
3.55pm Key Take-Home Messages Penny Lord, NatWest regional agricultural manager
4.00pm Tea and close
*Content subject to change.