How the future will look is still unknown but what we do know is, the farming industry is driven by the change it needs to see - Sophie McCandlish

Yorkshire Post Agricultural Correspondent, Sophie McCandlish
Yorkshire Post Agricultural Correspondent, Sophie McCandlish
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While we have barely said goodbye to Christmas, the New Year will bring a new decade and the start of a new agricultural calendar.

Before the heavy lifting of spring and summer gets underway, it is conference time, with a number of organisations holding their annual showcases at the beginning of the year.

There are some great speakers on the agendas discussing some of the key themes facing the industry today – sustainability, diversification, mental wellbeing, climate change and the big one, Brexit.

These events are a great way to start the year. They help create focus and clarity on the challenges we as an industry face, provide advice and guidance on how to navigate a way forward and inspire new ideas.

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As we have touched on many times in these pages, networking is a massively valuable tool, particularly in a sector which can be as isolated as farming.

Agricultural shows were originally created not only to give farmers the opportunity to show off their animals but to provide social interaction. The beer tent of an agricultural show is a place many a deal has been done and friendships rekindled year on year.

Nowhere is this more prevalent than at the Great Yorkshire Show. The three-day show is as much about meeting friends as it is about the competition. However, that is not to say the competition isn’t taken very seriously indeed.

Charles Mills, GYS president, is always keen to emphasise where the heart of the show lies and that is in staying true to its agricultural roots. While there is lots to entertain every visitor, it is still the place tech companies, agricultural machinery companies and new innovations want to be.

How the future will look for farming is still an unknown. We are progressing towards leaving the EU but the timeframe for a deal seems unrealistic, however what we do know is the farming industry is driven by the change it needs to see and the focus to adapt where and how it can.

Inspiring speakers, workshops, discussion groups and a pint or two in the beer tent could help us all make the most of the year ahead.