Quiz the speakers
Fantastic opportunity to put your questions forward and hear what the speakers have to say.
A series of regional LIVE debates
Policy makers and influential figures will be talking about key agricultural topics and current affairs that are relevant to your region.
Following the event, there will be an evening drinks reception where you will have the opportunity to network with likeminded peers in the industry.
Meet the QuestionTime host
Voice of the Farmers Weekly podcast and projects editor, Johann Tasker, is taking to the stage to host our new Question Time live show.
A long-standing and integral member of the Farmers Weekly team, he has been reporting and analysing the impact of government policy on agriculture – and how it affects farm businesses – for more than 20 years.
Most recently he has led our agricultural transition and farm safety (Dying to Feed You) projects alongside production of the weekly podcast with co-host Hugh Broom.
- Registration: 17:30
- Live QuestionTime: 18:00 - 19:15
- Drinks reception: from 19:15
Prior to his current role, George was head of the Food and Drink division, with responsibilities including EU exit, Covid recovery and trade policy.
George Burgess has been interim director of Agriculture and Rural Economy since March 2022. He oversees the Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate, helping the directorate to:
- support Scotland in being a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture and meeting our net zero targets and biodiversity goals
- achieve Ambition 2030, global trade success and work to maximise the potential of Scotland’s food and drink sector
- enable island and rural communities to thrive, including the land reform agenda
- create the policy framework to shape agriculture and the rural economy
- engage with and support thousands of organisations across the agricultural
- rural and food and drink sectors and promote Scottish interests globally
- provide financial support to the agriculture and rural sectors to enable sustainable land management and maintain animal welfare standards and plant health regulations and standards.
George was born in Aberdeen and grew up on a mixed tenant farm on Speyside, developing skills (now rusty) in tractor driving, cow calving and neep hoeing. He attended Keith Grammar School, then gained an MA in Natural Sciences and a PhD on Electron Microscopy from the University of Cambridge. He is married with one daughter.
Prior to his current role, George was head of the Scottish Government’s Food and Drink division, with responsibilities including EU exit, Covid recovery and trade policy. He has a wide range of experience working on climate change, environmental quality, EU and international trade and investment, devolution and constitutional policy, as well as having been private secretary to the Deputy First Minister.
Louise Gray is an environmental journalist turned award-winning author. Louise worked for The Daily Telegraph...
Louise Gray is an environmental journalist turned award-winning author. Louise worked for The Daily Telegraph as an Environmental Correspondent for five years and as a staff writer on The Scotsman.
As a freelance writer, Louise has worked for the BBC, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Country Life, The Spectator and more. Her contacts across the world and her deep knowledge of environmental issues has led to her chairing a number of debates and offering her services as a public speaker.
In 2016, Louise released her first book, The Ethical Carnivore, to a chorus of positive reviews, including The Guardian and Evening Standard. The book won two awards at the Guild of Food Writers Awards.
Her second book, Avocado Anxiety and Other Stories About Where your Food Comes From came out in 2023 and has already received favourable reviews in The Times. Both books are available to buy online, or in all good bookshops.
Nicola Holden is a Professor of Food Safety at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) with a background in bacteriology, understanding how bacteria...
Nicola Holden is a Professor of Food Safety at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) with a background in bacteriology, understanding how bacteria adapt to stressful environments. The context is in food safety and public health.
She runs one of the three research-led challenge centres in SRUC, the Safe and Improved Food centre, covering a broad range of agri-food production research. At SRUC, she works closely with stakeholders in food production, from public health agencies to producers and food businesses.
Nicola plays an active part in an innovation centre that is being developed by Opportunity North East, on the SRUC Craibstone Estate – the food-hub known as ‘SeedPod’. She describes this as a fantastic opportunity to work directly with the food and drink sector on developing areas and emerging topics.
Nicola’s research centres on plant-microbe interactions and gaining knowledge on how bacteria adapts to plant hosts. The main aim of the work is to understand the basic bioscience that drives many of the processes that affect farming and food production. For example, the team is currently generating biological and data resources from crops grown in different soil types that the agri-tech sector, as well as scientific researchers, can use.
Other projects include surveillance tools for pathogen tracking, microbial functions relating to soil health and stressed soils, and crop production in controlled environments
Martin is a tenant farmer in Aberfeldy, Highland Perthshire and farms with his wife Jane and three daughters. They have 600 ewes and 60 cows...
Lurgan Farm, Edradynate, Aberfeldy
Martin is a tenant farmer in Aberfeldy, Highland Perthshire and farms with his wife Jane and three daughters. They have 600 ewes and 60 cows on the farm rising from 800ft to 2,500ft. Martin served two years as Highland Perthshire Branch chair, before representing East Central region on the LFA committee in 2009.
Martin went on to be Vice-Chair before chairing the committee for three years. He was elected Vice-President in 2017 and elected as President in 2021.
Sally took a long and circuitous route into agriculture, following other career paths before ultimately choosing agriculture as the one for her.
Sally took a long and circuitous route into agriculture, following other career paths before ultimately choosing agriculture as the one for her. She is now a director of the family farm in the Scottish Borders alongside her parents.
Sally is a strong advocate of utilising technology and precision farming methods and tries to practice what she preaches. Her pedigree Holstein herd of dairy cows are milked using six robotic units, the first of which was installed in 2009.
She is a passionate about engaging with consumers about food and farming and is a volunteer farmer for the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) welcoming schoolchildren onto the farm, physically and virtually all year round.
Sally believes that good communication is critical for the future of agriculture, both on and off farm. She is the farmer representative for TSDG farmers in Scotland and is an active participant on the NFU Scotland Milk Committee. Further to this, Sally mentors young people from varying backgrounds who are hoping to make their mark at various levels in agriculture.
Sally has a BScHons in Agriculture specialising in Animal Science, is a Scottish Enterprise Rural Leader and is a past National Chairman of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs. She was the Chairman of the 2021 Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) and steered the OFC Council through their first ever fully digital Conference.
Most recently, Sally has entered into the world of on-farm diversification by adding a pick your own pumpkin patch to the farm in 2020 and she is always on the look-out for other business opportunities.
SRUC Oatridge Campus
There is a large car park across from the main building.
Full details on how to travel to the venue by bus, train, taxi and car are available via SRUC.
If your application is successful, please inform us of any dietary requirements by Friday 24th January. You can contact us at Amy.Parsons-Dempster@markallengroup.com
Pictures of the event
Yes, but you need to inform us at least 24 hours before.
We aim to select a panel of influential figures within the agricultural industry who have a broad range of views, knowledge, and experience. Where possible we try and select panellists who are relevant to the area in which the event is taking place.
To make the audience diverse and to ensure a range of different views and opinions are reflected, we try to select audience members of varying age groups and occupations. The successful audience members will be contacted by a member of the Farmers Weekly team and asked to provide two questions for the panel.
Following the event, there will be an evening drinks reception where canapes and light refreshments will be provided.
Yes, the event is free to attend, however you do need to apply to be a member of the audience.