20 November 1998

The Countryside –

Pleasure Park or Factory Floor?

WHAT do taxpayers want from UK farmers? A picture postcard countryside, full of wild flowers, birds and animals, to which they have unrestricted access? Abundant supplies of cheap food piled high on supermarket shelves?

There is a danger, if the farming crisis continues, that they will have none of these. The industry could be forced to retrench, as in the 1930s. Both conservation and agricultural health might suffer as farmers fight to survive.

But assuming profitability in farming is cyclical; that the current crisis is temporary; that a degree of prosperity returns – how should farmers respond to public demand?

To consider these questions, Sentry Farming Group has teamed up with East Anglian based solicitors Mills and Reeve, harvesting tackle manufacturer Claas, the Agricultural Travel Bureau from Newark and farmers weekly and FWi to present a one day conference to be held at Chilford Hall, Linton, Cambs on Thurs, Feb 18, 1999.

It features an authoritative team of speakers to interpret the politics and population trends; to indicate likely environmental and economic priorities; and to assess opportunities for farming and for food.

The speakers

THE first speaker is Ben Gill, president of the NFU. He highlights the problems UK farming is facing, drawing on his wealth of union experience and as a farmer in his own right – he still runs the familys 120ha (300 acre) unit in North Yorks.

John Alliston is dean of the school of agriculture, Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. He examines world food issues, and the pressures on farming to feed an ever increasing population.

European economic signals is David Harveys theme. As head of agricultural economics and food marketing at Newcastle University, he is well placed to shed light on how UK farming will adapt to Brussels policy on Agenda 2000 and the next WTO round – in a practical, down to earth manner.

After lunch, Graham Wynne, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, outlines some of the chief concerns his organisation, and the public, have about UK farming practice. Is more biodiversity the answer?

Marketing risks and opportunities are then outlined by recently ennobled Lord Chris Haskins. He examines the issues from both the buyers and the farmers angle – he is chairman of Northern Foods and farms 323ha (800 acres) in Yorks.

Finally, as farming and green issues become inextricably linked, who better to spell out the ongoing political challenges UK farmers face than environment minister Michael Meacher? Not one to pull the punches, he will leave farmers in no doubt of the governments vision for a better countryside.

At Chilford Hall, Linton, Cambs, on Thurs, Feb 18,1999

Please return this form with your fee, which includes coffee, lunch and tea. VAT at 17.5% is included. Tickets and VAT receipts will be provided for all delegates.

Please reserve …….. places at £70.50 (including £10.50 VAT) in the namesof (BLOCK CAPITALS PLEASE):

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Cheques should be made payable to Sentry Farming Ltd (Conference Account) and sent to the Conference Office, The Hall, Willisham, Ipswich, Suffolk IP8 4SL

Name…………………………………………………………………………………………..Address…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Postcode……………………………Telephone……………………………………………

Occupation…………………………………………………………………………………….

Farm size……………………………….Owner/tenant……………………………………

9.15 Registration and coffee

10.00 Chairmans introduction David Richardson

10.15 UK farmings predicament Ben Gill

11.00 World food issues Dr John Alliston

11.45 European economic signals Prof David Harvey

12.30 Lunch

2.15 Countryside concerns Graham Wynne

3.00 Marketing risks and opportunities Lord Christopher Haskins

3.45 Ongoing political challenges The Rt Hon Michael Meacher

4.30 Tea and depart

Numbers are strictly limited and applications will be accepted in the order received. Names of all delegates booking by Friday Jan 8 1999 will be entered into a draw for a £200 travel voucher donated by the Agricultural Travel Bureau.

The winner will be entitled to redeem the voucher against a selection of farm study tours or holidays arranged by ATB during 1999.

A CHANCETOWIN£200

CONFERENCEAGENDA

Farming 99 – Pleasure Park or Factory Floor?