The Oxford Farming Conference

Thursday 4th June, 2020

12:00
The Business Organisation of Farming

The conference in 1939 investigated the Business Organisation of Farming, a topic that is of critical relevance today as we face an agricultural transition period that shifts responsibility for farm viability from the government to farm businesses themselves.

The Agriculture Bill contains measures to invest in public goods but also plenty around supply chain regulation - in theory offering greater protection to farming businesses. What role should supply chains have in farm business viability? Are the supply chain provisions of the Ag Bill an opportunity, or a threat, to UK farming businesses? Our panel will explore the topic along with farm business structures, agricultural subsidies and what the Business Organisation of Farming means in 2020 and beyond.

Speakers (click on their name to read their biography):

Chair:

  • OFC Director and Head of Rural Research at Savills UK, Emily Norton
Watch back:

To watch the session, click here

Thursday 2nd July, 2020

12:00
Towards Greater Self Sufficiency

Our next webinar, which re-visits the theme of the 1958 Oxford Farming Conference theme 'Towards Greater Self Sufficiency', will look at Food security, nature and net zero: can we have our cake and eat it?

Covid-19 and empty supermarket shelves have prompted a refocus on our food security. What should this mean for the new Agriculture Bill progressing through Parliament, with its emphasis on paying farmers to protect the environment? Is it time for a re-think? Or is our food security dependent on reducing climate and nature risks? Can we have our cake and eat it?

Our panel will explore:

  • What do we mean by food security?
  • What lessons have we learned from Covid-19 about what matters for UK food security?
  • How can we balance food security priorities with tackling the climate and nature emergencies?

Speakers (click here to read their biographies)

  • Prof. of Food Policy at London’s City University Prof. Tim Lang
  • Strategy and Policy Director at Soil Association Joanna Lewis
  • Agro-Ecological Farmer, George Young
  • CEO at RSPB Rebecca Speight

Chair:

OFC Director, and Associate Director Farming and Land Use at Soil Association, Liz Bowles

Watch back:

To watch the session, click here

Thursday 6th August, 2020

12:00
The Case for Expansion

Forget the doomsayers, recession and Brexit. There is still a case to be made for confidence in the future of UK farming, or is there?

Join us for this month's OFC bitesize at Grosvenor Farms, the home of one of the UK's biggest investors in food and farming as we discuss the future of the sector. The 2,000 ha farm near Chester - Tesco's biggest single milk supplier - is part of the Wheatsheaf Group, a £500m agriculture and food investment business.

Speakers:(click here to read their biographies)

Joining us will be Grosvenor's managing director Mark Roach and arable manager Charlie Steer.

Chair:

OFC Director, Tom Levitt

Watch back:

To watch the session, click here

Thursday 3rd September, 2020

12:00
The World, Its Food and My Farm

In 1974, the conference title was ‘The World, Its Food and My Farm. It was a year marked by Britain entering its first post-war recession, a three day week, two general elections and a state of emergency in Northern Ireland.

As the UK adapts to living with COVID-19 we take a look back to the past and discuss how the food sector can adapt to the new conditions in 2020.

Speakers :(click here to read their biographies)

1. The World - Global recession and UN Sustainable Development Goal SGD 2

Terri Sarch, UK Ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome

2.Its Food - Sustainable food systems

Robynne Anderson, President of Emerging Ag

3. My Farm, our members - Opportunities for UK agriculture

Caroline Drummond, Chief Executive of Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF)

Chair:

OFC Director and food safety and nutrition consultant, Alo Solutions, Barbara Bray

Register:

To register for the free one-hour webinar, click here

Thursday 1st October, 2020

12:00
The Paradox of Plenty

During this #OFCBitesize, the “Paradox of Plenty” will explore the concept of equity in the current global food system - who is making the money out of a commodity that we all need?

In the vast majority of cases, it's not the farmer. Moreover, soil fertility and biodiversity is declining, some have too much food and many, many more have too little. How do we re-balance the system to ensure it is fair for all, farmer and consumer alike?

Speakers :

  • Chandrashekhar Bhadsavle, Farmer in India
  • Daniel McGahey, Senior Environmental and Social Scientist at Earth Systems
  • Konrad Brits, Chief Executive Officer at Falcon Coffees LimitedKonrad has a a

Chair:

OFC Director and Chief Executive of IEMA, Sarah Mukherjee

Register:

To register for the free one-hour webinar, click here

Thursday 5th November, 2020

12:00
Farmers in Competition

From January 2021, and with no trade deals concluded (apart from with Japan),  UK farmers face global competition in all sectors – meat, dairy, fresh produce, poultry, ornamentals, arable – in home and export markets. Join us live as the former Prime Minister of Australia and appointed adviser to UK Board of Trade, Tony Abbott and NFU President, Minette Batters, discuss what this means for the future.

In 1990, when Farmers in Competition was last the theme of the OFC,  the discussion was about price and producer support. These will be lost post Brexit, and proposed new farm support schemes are focused on ‘public goods’, which may exclude food production.

The future deals to be brokered may eliminate trade barriers, arguably allowing the UK and other countries to play to their comparative advantages, specialising in what they produce, so boosting productivity and benefitting consumers. In agricultural supply chains, such comparative advantages could be climatic, soils, skills, water, cheaper labour or sheer scale. But the effect of unfettered free trade on UK farming, food, rural communities and the British countryside could be significant and possibly irreversible.

Join us for this #OFCBitesize session which will focus on the theme of "Farmers in Competition". What might UK farmers face under the new proposed trade deals, and how will farmers in some sectors and countries successfully meet competition from lean and agile producers?

Speakers :

  • Tony Abbott – former Prime Minister of Australia, appointed adviser to UK Board of Trade
  • Minette Batters – President, National Farmers Union

Chair: OFC Director, Marion Regan

Register:

To register for the free one-hour webinar, click here

Thursday 3rd December, 2020

12:00
A Climate of Change: Agriculture - the solution not the problem.