The Oxford Farming Conference

Wednesday 6th January, 2021

Defra: Future Farming and Countryside Programme


  • 10:00-10.45: The Path to Sustainable Farming: An Agricultural Transition Plan 2021-2024 - presented by Jonathan Baker, Head of Future Farming Programme Policy and Strategy, Defra
  • 10:45-10:50: Break
  • 10:50-11:35: Introduction to co-design - presented by Neville Cavendish, Head of Co-Design, Future Farming and Countryside Programme, Defra and Michael Seals, farmer and Chairman of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England


The introduction to co-design will consist of the following:

  1. Presentation (20 minutes)
  • Defra’s commitment and planned approach to co-design
  • What we mean by co-design (and how it is different to traditional engagement and consultation)
  • “Users are not just farmers” – highlighting the broad range of end-users doing co-design
  • Examples of co-design already started
  • What we have learned so far from co-design of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway (led by Michael Seals)
  • Opportunities to get involved
  1. Discussion (25 minutes)
  2. How to stay in touch or register your interest
Fringe: The Future of British Livestock - Collaboration, Technology & Profit

Creating resilience and certainty in the UK livestock supply-chain - shifting mindsets, encouraging collaboration and fostering technological uptake from farm to fork.

  • Ian Wheal - Breedr (Chair)
  • Gavin Hodgson - Buying Manager: Meat, Fish & Poultry at Sainsbury's
  • Phil Bicknell - Market Intelligence Director at AHDB
  • Ian Sturmer - FW Beef Farmer of the Year 2019
Fringe: A Farming Business Fit for the Future?

Farmers and business advisors share their experience of developing sustainable and resilient business models that meet future risk head on.

  • Ffinlo Costain – Farm Gate Podcast (Compere)
  • Roland Bonney - Agribusiness Development Specialist
  • George Young, Nikki Yoxall and Johnny Balfour – Agroecological Ambassadors
  • With opening remarks from Liz Bowles – OFC Director and Associate Director of the Soil Association, and Sue Pritchard – CEO, the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

Thursday 7th January, 2021

"Doors" Open and Networking

Find a seat on one of our tables, get comfy and meet up with friends, new and current, as we get ready to start the conference.

Chairman's Address

OFC Chairman Sally Williams opens our 75th conference, themed "Business as Unusual".

Don’t forget to download the OFC app* so you can vote in our polls, and share your thoughts on twitter using #OFC21.

*you will receive an email once you register with details on how to download the app.

Politics Session

As we leave the EU, our devolved nations all have different approaches for future policies but how will this impact you, and how do we collaborate for the good of UK agriculture?

With the conference taking place just 7 days after the UK has left the EU, what will our four speakers have to say about the future of UK agriculture.


  • George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, England
  • Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Scotland
  • Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Wales
  • Edwin Poots, Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Ireland


Sarah Mukherjee, OFC Director and Chief Executive of IEMA

Time for Coffee

Grab a coffee and join a table to meet people from all across the UK, and further afield.

Trade, Trade and Trade

During this session, our panel will talk about the leadership required to manage the constant disruption that is impacting trade, and we receive a preview of the official findings from the Trade and Agriculture Commission, ahead of the launch in February.

Don't forget to download the app so you can vote in the poll.


  • Ash Amirahmadi - Managing Director, Arla Foods UK
  • Tim Smith - Chairman, Trade and Agriculture Commission
  • Rob Ward - AgriFood Dealmaker, Department for International Trade
  • James Bailey - Executive Director, Waitrose


Sally Williams, OFC Director and Chairman 2021

Lunch Time

Time to step away from your computer and enjoy some lunch. The morning session link has ended, when we return at 13.00 click on the afternoon link to join us.

Frank Parkinson Lecture

Known as the “Godfather of Sustainability”, John Elkington has unique insight into how corporates and supply chains are responding to global sustainability challenges, but argues that current practice does not go nearly far enough. John argues that if we’re serious about tackling the climate, biodiversity and health crises threatening the planet, then a totally new approach to sustainability is needed - one that builds responsible, resilient and ultimately regenerative business models that deliver more economic, social and natural capital than they consume.

In this year’s Frank Parkinson lecture, John will explain how the coming boom in Regenerative Capitalism is changing corporate mindsets, with big implications for how we produce, distribute and eat food here in the UK.


John Elkington


Emily Norton, OFC Director and Head of Rural Research at Savills UK Ltd

Time for Coffee

Time for another coffee break and more chatter on one of our tables - did you agree with what John Elkington had to say?

OFC Science Lecture

Professor Tim Benton leads the Energy, Environment and Resources programme at Chatham House. From 2011-2016 he was the “champion” of the UK’s Global Food Security programme which was a multi-agency partnership of the UK’s public bodies (government departments, devolved governments and research councils) with an interest in the challenges around food.

He has published more than 150 academic papers, many tackling how systems respond to environmental change – what will he tell us today about People, Planet, Prosperity - Getting our Food Systems Right.


Professor Tim Benton


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

It's Coffee Time

Time to refresh your cup and browse our tables again.

Mental Health in Agriculture

Following the OFC mental health report, launched in January 2020, we look at how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted agricultural and rural areas and what we can do to help.

Inspiring Farmers

Our panel of three farmers will each share their own inspiring story before taking your questions.


Sarah Appleby, Appleby Dairy

How you turn a 20th century dairy into a 21st century brand?


Angus Davison, Haygrove (berries, cherries and organics, farming in the UK, South Africa, Portugal and China)

How do you go from growing a 1ha plot of strawberries and sleeping in a tent in the field to a multinational business with operations in four countries?


Paul Costello, Grasmilch Brandenburg (Pig, Tillage, Dairy and Renewables, farming in the UK and Germany)

Taking grass-based dairying to continental Europe - and proving some doubters wrong.


Tom Levitt, OFC Director and Journalist

HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne

OFC Honorary President, HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne joins us to celebrate our 75th anniversary and reflect on the conference.

Chairman Close

OFC Chairman Sally Williams closes the main conference and explains proceedings for the OFC Debate.

Networking reflections

Our interactive tables will remain open until 17:30 so you can discuss your thoughts on our sessions today, and catch-up with friends over a drink or two.

Take a break

The conference afternoon joining link will close so you can grab a bite to eat, and have some time away from the screen before we kick-off again for our renowned OFC Debate. See you shortly.

The OFC Debate

Our motion tonight - "This house believes that first generation farmers are better than fourth." Do you agree? Join us for what promises to be a fun and entertaining debate with the opportunity to share your own view.


Proposer: Nikki Yoxall (New entrant, livestock farmer, regenerative ag fan and founder of Grampian Graziers)

Seconder: Muhsen Hassanin (Smallholder based in south Wales. A new entrant who left London with his family to embark on his farming career.)


Opposer: Peter Wiggins-Davies (The Revesby Estate in rural Lincolnshire has seen unbroken ownership by the Wiggins-Davies family for more than 300 years!)

Seconder: Will Evans (Farming in Wales, Host of Rock & Roll Farming Podcast and co-founder of Eat Farm Now.


Chair: Aled-Rhys Jones (Rural Business Consultant, Television & Radio Presenter & After Dinner Speaker)


WATCH FOR FREE HERE (you don't need a conference ticket, but if you did "book" your seat, you can join via your Remo link to ask a question)

Go on, have a chat.

Your last chance to grab a seat on our networking tables and chat away until we close at 9pm.



OFC25 will take place from 8th to 10th January 2025, in Oxford and Online.

A programme teaser and tickets are now available by visiting our dedicated conference section.