OFC 2014: Opportunities for Agriculture in debate

The organisers of the Oxford Farming Conference 2014 have announced they will tackle the broad subject of Opportunities for Agriculture at the event.

OFC 2014: Opportunity agriculture, but who will find it and how? will run from 6-8 January 2014 at the Oxford University Examination Schools.

The core questions at the heart of the next OFC will be: Where are the opportunities in agriculture? How can they be funded? And how should farms be operated for the future?

EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Cioloş and DEFRA secretary Owen Paterson, will deliver papers at the start of an important political year for farming.

They will be joined by Simon Coveney, the Irish minister for agriculture, who was recently involved in CAP negotiations during Ireland’s EU Presidency, and NFU president Peter Kendall.

Other speakers include: Forbes Elworthy of Craigmore, the New Zealand farming investment company; Gerry Moye, President at COBB, the global poultry genetics company; George Freeman MP and Simon Blackmore from Harper Adams University.

The Oxford Union Debate will see two politicians debate the motion: “This house believes that green energy is not worth the carbon it takes to produce.” Proposing the motion is Roger Helmer, UKIP MEP, and opposing the motion is Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party.

Scottish beef and arable farmer Adrian Ivory, OFC co-chairman, gave details of the sixth piece of industry research, which will be presented at the conference. The study will investigates the structure, processes and relationships needed to establish a truly competitive UK agriculture sector beyond the next decade.

“The research report we’ve commissioned is likely to be controversial, because it highlights the need for changes to how farms are operated and funded, some of which will be unpalatable to those who prefer working within the status quo,” he explained.

The research project has been produced for the OFC by a Bidwells-led consortium, sponsored by Burges Salmon, Syngenta and Volac.

Those wanting to attend OFC 2014 can book now online at www.ofc.org.uk. Full details about the conference, the venue, the programme and booking can be found at at www.ofc.org.uk.

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