Future of Farming conference 27-28 April 2018

Book your ticket now for the Future of Farming conference, run by the Sustainable Food Trust and featuring talks by Secretary of State for Defra Michael Gove and NFU President Minette Batters, among many others.

Photo by Miles Willis

Photo by Miles Willis

The Future of UK Farming is a two day conference taking place at Fir Farm, Lower Swell, Gloucestershire, 27-28 April, 2018.

Book your tickets on eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-future-of-uk-farming-tickets-44096056492

This conference will set out and debate the opportunities and consequences for farmers in a post-Brexit environment. 
Throughout the programme, we will explore how we can design food systems which are profitable for farmers, whilst at the same time enhancing the environment and public health. We will also discuss growing consumer demands for local, traceable food and how all farmers can adapt to keep up with this market.  

Participants will hear from some of the leading figures and voices in the field including:

  • Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 
  • Minette Batters, NFU 
  • Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm
  • Joel Williams, Integrated Soils
  • Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School
  • Kim Wilkie, Landscape architect 
  • Caroline Grindrod, Primal Meats
  • Adrian Dolby, The Buccleuch Estates
  • Andrew Sells, Natural England 
  • Ben Pugh, Farmdrop
  • Rob Havard, Havard & Co Organic Farms 

Conference themes

Public Money for Public Goods - How will the Government create 'carrot and stick' polices to reward farmers for doing the right thing? How will this accelerate the changes that are needed to create more sustainable farming systems with better environmental and health outcomes?

Measuring Public Goods – Are there clearer, simpler and more powerful metrics which could replace the current subsidy system and help determine eligibility for public purse support? The current process of field to fork involves multiple farm audits, overlapping certification schemes and a resulting mass consumer confusion about the best food to eat. How can we simplify the system, providing regulators with the information they need, encouraging continuous improvement and providing greater transparency in the market place?

Building Better Soil Through Farming Practice – Which methods of production have the potential to rebuild lost soil fertility, promote integrated nature conservation and create viable and profitable business models for producers? How could government measure such improvements and design incentives to help accelerate this change?

Delivering High Animal Welfare and Local Meat Through Small Abattoirs – How can we reverse the commoditisation and industrialisation of meat markets? Could more local slaughter facilities enable better marketing and shorter supply chains? Our speakers will explore these complex issues and assess the most recent research on whether on-farm slaughter is a viable option. 

New Models for Local Food Systems - How can we design successful and profitable alternative retail systems which support the type of food and farming outlined in the government's 'Health and Harmony' command paper? Exploring innovative models for reaching consumers which offer farmers greater opportunity and customers better quality and more local food.

Timings and location

The conference will begin with an optional farm walk starting at 11am on Friday 27th, followed by a light lunch. The programme will then begin at 2pm and run until the end of the day on Saturday 28th. It will take place at Hill Barn, Fir Farm, a working 700 acre mixed farm, implementing sustainable practices and supplying local markets wherever possible in the Cotswolds, near Stow on the Wold. The farm is home to 200 head of pedigree polled Hereford cattle, 250 acres of arable and 90 acres of conservation area and woodland.

The conference will also include drinks and dinner at Hill Barn on the Friday evening, with locally produced food being served throughout the event.

A full programme will be released shortly.


Concession prices are available for farmers, NGOs, students and young people (aged 25 and under). We also have a number of assisted places available. Please contact Bonnie Welch at bonnie@sustainablefoodtrust.org should you wish to enquire about one of these tickets.

The income from ticket sales will go towards the cost of arranging the event. However, if you would like to make an additional donation to support the ongoing work of the SFT please click here or fill in the 'donation box' on the ticket page. Please note, the ticket prices shown above inlcude eventbrite fees. 

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-future-of-uk-farming-tickets-44096056492
Find out more at: http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/events/the-future-of-uk-farming/ 

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