The Oxford Farming Conference

Thursday 4th June, 2020

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):


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

To watch the session, click here

Thursday 2nd July, 2020

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


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

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.


OFC Director, Tom Levitt

Watch back:

To watch the session, click here

Thursday 3rd September, 2020

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)


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


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

Thursday 1st October, 2020

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


OFC Director and Chief Executive of IEMA, Sarah Mukherjee


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

Thursday 5th November, 2020

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


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

Monday 30th November, 2020

SPECIAL OFC Bitesize in partnership with Defra

Environment Secretary George Eustice MP to set out roadmap for the transformation of farm support, live from #OFCBitesize on Monday.

Join the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) at 10am on Monday, 30 November for a special OFC Bitesize, in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Environment Secretary George Eustice MP will set out the roadmap for the transformation of the way in which we support farmers. This will be centred on support aimed at incentivising sustainable farming practices, creating habitats for nature recovery and establishing new woodland and other ecosystem services to help tackle challenges like climate change.

The Secretary of State will set out how we will support farmers to produce high quality and nutritious food in a more sustainable way and improve transparency in the supply chain to help food producers strengthen their position at the farm gate and seek a fairer return from the marketplace.

Next year will be the first of a planned seven-year transition period, with new policies to help farmers reduce their costs and improve their profitability, and help those who want to retire or leave the industry to do so with dignity, and to create new opportunities and support for new entrants coming into the industry.


  • Envrionment Secretary, George Eustice MP
  • Independent panel questions
  • Audience questions

Host: Sarah Mukherjee

OFC Chairman: Sally Williams


Click here to join, pre-registration NOT required.

If you have any problems on the day, please email

Thursday 3rd December, 2020

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

The second of two #OFCBitesize sessions this week

Carbon, the future of its trading and the potential for farmers earning from sequestration are hot topics and will be central to the last 2020 #OFCBitesize (you can listen back here). How farming measures carbon, captures it and values it, is still under discussion, but we already know it offers a big opportunity for the future of farming and future resilience. Farmers have the ability to produce food and capture carbon using the sun’s free energy.

During this #OFCBitesize we will ask our panel to explore the modelling tools that are needed to make this possible, where carbon comes from and how farming can sell carbon to produce a financial return. Does agriculture need the support of the public purse or can farmers gain from the commercial carbon markets without Government support? How do farms maintain ownership of carbon? Could cooperation models be part of the solution? And how could the industry ensure that it is working as one?


  • Professor Myles Allen - Professor of Geosystem Science & Leader of the Climate Research Programme
  • Professor Richard Pywell - Senior Principal Scientist at the NERC Centre for Ecology
  • Andrew Voysey - Head of Business and Government Solutions at Soil Capital

Chair: Andrew Pitts, OFC Director and Farmer

To register: click here


In case you missed details on the first session

On Monday 30 November our #OFCBitesize hosted Secretary of State, George Eustice MP, when he shared the Government’s farm support transition roadmap (click here to watch back). What will our panel make of his recommendations and how can farming ensure that the public recognises that land use can be part of the carbon solution and not the problem?

Thursday 17th December, 2020

BONUS Bitesize - A Farming Flavour of Oxford

Join us for this special evening bonus OFC Bitesize when we hear from three farmers from three regions - England, Scotland and Wales. Grab a drink, put your feet up and enjoy the discussion, which is sure to get you in the mood for our conference on 7th January 2021.


Covid19 has shone a spotlight on all sorts of challenges – supply chains, global vs local, rural connectivity, economic upheaval and a focus on wellbeing. The common thread to all the challenges has been the positivity and sense of 'can-do' of people and communities. People have been stepping up to the plate to solve problems, to lead others and push boundaries for the betterment of all.

OFC’s mission statement is to inform, challenge and inspire. There is nothing more inspirational according to our Chair Sally Williams than hearing others stories and learning from them.

We will be hearing from three inspiring farmers from across the UK. We will explore their stories, and highlight that farmers are leaders at home, in the wider industry and in society at large.


David Hill - England - Estate Manager and founder of the Greatest Online Ag SHow

Llĵr Jones - Wales - Farmers and Cereal Entrepreneur

Kate Rowell - Scotland - Beef and Sheep farmer, and Quality Meat Scotland Chairman


Chair: Sally Williams, OFC Chairman and Farmer

Register: to join the session, click here.