Sentry conference to address key global farming issues

Many now believe the world is heading for food shortages. Worst affected will be the developing world, but there is growing evidence the developed west may eventually suffer, too.

We’ve discussed the reasons at previous Sentry conferences. Chief among them are rising world population; increasing prosperity in Asia; and climate change, making significant and consistent expansion of food production more difficult.

We’ve also debated agricultural technologies that might help. Some of these have been adopted in other countries, but have so far been rejected in the UK and the EU – potentially one of the regions of the world where the response would be greatest.

Book your place now

 The Sentry conference is well established in the farming calendar.

It takes place on Wednesday, 6 February 2013 at a new venue – the Rowley Mile Racecourse, Newmarket, Suffolk.

Tickets cost £100+ VAT per person. To book your place visit or contact Jo Woods on 01473 812 010 or email

Most of Europe’s consumers, or more accurately perhaps, Europe’s politicians, have so far refused to accept such ideas. Meanwhile, more “enlightened” people believe fears about the safety of such foods are groundless.

So, has the time come to more actively try to persuade consumers and politicians that they should urgently embrace new technologies for their own good? To point out more forcefully than ever before that support for pressure groups hostile to scientific development is a luxury the world can no longer afford? To remind them by limiting European food production for political reasons they add to our need to import and condemn others to hunger and starvation?

Our speakers will spell out the reality of the imminent food shortage. They will indicate some of the key decisions needed to improve food security. They will stress the urgency for more scientific research. They will warn of the scale of the challenge to change consumer thinking. And they will assess the implications of all this for farms.

Conference programme
  • 8.45am Registration and coffee
  • 9.45am Chairman’s introduction – David Richardson
  • 10am Commodity crisis – fact or fiction? – Dan Basse
  • 10.45am Consumer awareness – or not – Adam Leyland
  • 11.30am Food insecurity? – Prof Tim Benton
  • 2.15pm Into the looking glass: trends, issues and responses – Prof Hamish Gow
  • 3pm Biotech revolution on hold – Prof Maurice Moloney
  • 3.45pm The communications challenge – Ian Pigott

Sponsors: Sentry, Agrovista, Bayer CropScience, Larking Gowen and Farmers Weekly

Conference speakers;
Dan Basse, president, AgResource Company, Chicago, USA. International agricultural research firm AgResource provides information on production, demand and price trends to farmers, traders, processors, importers and exporters of agricultural commodities. Mr Basse worked for a range of US farm organisations before setting up the company.
Adam Leyland, editor, The Grocer. The Grocer is widely recognised as the weekly “bible” for the food trade. Mr Leyland is an authority on issues from food pricing to binge drinking, consumer trends and new product development, as well as the power of supermarkets.
Prof Tim Benton, UK champion for food security and professor of population ecology, the University of Leeds. Prof Benton has been UK food security champion since 2011, acting as ambassador and spokesperson for food and food security matters. His own research area is how to meet the challenges of “sustainable intensification”.
Prof Hamish Gow, director, Centre for Agribusiness, Policy and Strategy, University of Massey, New Zealand. Prof Gow’s expertise and interests include global agrifood systems, international agribusiness strategy, food marketing and branding. He is working with the World Bank to assist farmers with cost-effective market access.
Prof Maurice Moloney, director and chief executive, Rothamsted Research. Rothamsted Research has a mandate for food security, agricultural sustainability and adaption of agriculture to the consequences of both climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels. Prof Moloney’s career in plant biotechnology spans more than 20 years. In 2012 he had to deal with demonstrators wanting to destroy plots of aphid-resistant wheat.
Ian Pigott, BSc (Hons), NSch, ARAgS, Hertfordshire farmer. Mr Pigott runs an 728ha diversified farm business and founded Open Farm Sunday. He co-ordinates communications for the Careers in Farming and Food Supply initiative, is a Nuffield Scholar, a trustee of FACE, a LEAF demonstration farmer and a Farmers Weekly columnist.

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