11 things you always hear at farming conferences

Conference season in farming is almost upon us with politicians, policymakers and farmers due to take to the stage to impart their words of wisdom.

Farmers Weekly takes a tongue-in-cheek punt at some of the lines you will almost certainly hear from the conference platforms.

See also: 10 things only a farmer’s child would know

“World population is going to hit nine billion by 2050.” This will be said within the first half hour of the event starting, regardless of the topic, on the grounds that it has at every conference for at least the past five years.

“The long-term prospects for agriculture are excellent.” It’s true and that’s a real positive. The problem comes when we start talking about the short-term challenges…

“How do you make a million in farming? Start off with two million and work at it.” This may be a cliché but it still raises a smile. Sometimes the old ones really are the best.

“Live as if you are going to die tomorrow. Farm as if you are going to live forever.” Another old favourite, but its popularity never wanes. Typically used in connection with discussions about the environment. Like many adages, there’s a lot of truth in it.

“The biggest challenge facing the industry is volatility” Our friend (or should that be enemy?) volatility is the new buzzword on the conference circuit. Expect lots of talk about how to manage volatility and ride the ups and downs of the market.

“As Mark Twain said: ‘Land, they aren’t making it anymore’.” The full quote is never used but there’s always a knowing reference to it which generates a wry smile from delegates. Typically used during discussions about spiralling land prices or rents.

“The average age of farmer is X [insert your own estimate here].” Used to highlight the need to attract entrants or “new blood” into farming, the statistic is used repeatedly but no one is quite sure where it came from.

“The minister is running a few minutes late/The minister will only be able to take a few questions at the end of his speech because he has to leave by 11.15am.” To be fair on Defra ministers they accept invitations to speak at a significant number of farm events, which is to their credit. However, the life of a senior politician is such that a delay or early exit from the event is pretty inevitable.

“We must achieve sustainable intensification, which is about producing more from less.” It’s a phrase that has been going strong since 2011 and there’s no reason to expect it to die out yet.

“Can I come back to that question?” Basically, this means the speaker doesn’t know the answer – or doesn’t want to answer – and hopes that by deviating off on a rambling tangent, delegates may forget they had ever been asked it.

New for 2015

“The implementation of the new Basic Payment Scheme is on schedule” – Expect ministers to be doing their level best to convince farmers that everything is going to be fine this year as they roll out the new CAP scheme. We only hope they are right…

Have you got some more suggestions? Share them with us at isabel.davies@rbi.co.uk

See more