Minister to speak at major farm summit

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FARMING Minister Jim Paice is booked to speak at the second Northern Farming Conference, on November 3.

Mr Paice, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food at Defra, is on a list also including NFU president Peter Kendall; CLA president William Worsley; soil specialist Robert Shiel, from New-castle University; organic mixed farmers Angus and Duncan Nelless; the arable operations manager of Co-op Farms, David Watson; Nick Allen of Eblex; Andrew Robinson, the agriculture director of accountants Armstrong Watson; Northumberland farmer, grain trader and entrepreneur Charles Beaumont; the chairman of Natural England, Poul Christenson; and Robert Campbell, North Yorkshire arable farmer and organiser of the Campaign for the Farmed Environment.

The title of the conference is Grow For Profit and subjects under discussion will include the future of government and EU policy; reducing risk in UK farming investment; diversification opportunities; the advantages of co-operation; the benefits of mixed farming; how to make the most of organic farming; and international food market trends.

The conference, which will be held at Hardwick Hall Hotel, near Sedgefield, Co.Durham, is sponsored by Strutt & Parker, the CLA, FWAG, Dickinson Dees Solicitors, Armstrong Watson Accountants and the England Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative.

Rob Earle, organising committee secretary, said: “The Oxford Farming Conference is very much about farming policy. We thought there was room for something a bit more practically oriented, while also giving the delegates access to the people who can answer the questions they want to ask. And we wanted a venue a Wensleydale tenant farmer might reasonably travel to for a day.”

Alistair Cochrane, a partner in Strutt & Parker and North East regional chairman of the CLA, said: “I would urge farmers to join us for what should be a highly relevant and informative conference. We hope that, in this case, a day spent away from the land will pay dividends.

“Farming continues to face some daunting challenges. While prices for cereals, oilseeds, sheep and beef, continue to appear strong, they mask increasing costs and regulatory burdens. CAP reform seems to be taking some unexpected twists and turns, and the impact of climate change and government austerity programmes make it hard to plan with any degree of certainty.”

Tickets are £35.

See www.northernfarming conference.org.uk/