GYS Breakfast Meeting preview – Blair Wallace

In this latest blog post, Future Farmers of Yorkshire’s Great Yorkshire Show Breakfast Meeting is previewed by Blair Wallace, Vice Chairman of Future Farmers and Director of The Property Partnership Group Ltd.

The Great Yorkshire Show is fast approaching and Future Farmers of Yorkshire are preparing to host their breakfast meeting on Wednesday 10th July at the Vertu Motors GYS Stage at 7.45am.

We will be exploring ‘Changing the Farming Narrative: Delivering More Than Just Food’ at a time when UK agriculture is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by a mix of challenges, opportunities and mindset change.

Farmers have just come through one of the most gruelling winters marked by relentless rainfall and increasing input costs.

But amidst this, public interest in rural affairs and sustainable food production is surging and more farmers are opening their gates to showcase their practices.

Agriculture enjoys a high level of public respect, a sentiment amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic which cemented the importance of having diverse and local food sources.

This elevated relationship with the public provides a unique opportunity for farmers to reshape the narrative and demonstrate their vital role beyond food production.

As society strives for net zero emissions and healthier lifestyles, farmers are positioned at the forefront of these efforts.

The sector needs to leverage its goodwill to highlight the broader contributions of agriculture.

This includes not only providing nutritious food but also enhancing the environment and contributing to public health.

New opportunities

The uptake of the Environmental Land Management schemes, despite the shadow of the Basic Payment Scheme, reflects a commitment to sustainable practices.

This scheme offers public money for public goods, encouraging farmers to balance food production with environmental stewardship.

The key lies in producing food that is both environmentally sustainable and profitable.

Historically, farmers have been price takers rather than price makers and for the first time, I believe farmers have the opportunity to reverse this position.

Identifying the value of land beyond calorie production can unlock diverse income streams, reduce risk, and bolster business resilience.

This paradigm shift requires farmers to stand up against traditional supply chain pressures and embrace their role as innovators and solution providers for public health, environmental sustainability, and economic stability.

I see examples of the agricultural sector beginning to foster a spirit of collaboration and education among farmers, government bodies, and consumers.

This cooperation is essential to meet environmental targets without jeopardising farmers’ livelihoods or increasing food imports, which would simply shift the environmental burden elsewhere.

Picking up the conversation at GYS

Prominent figures in agriculture who exemplify the leadership and vision needed for this transition will join the panel at the breakfast meeting.

Molly Biddell, Head of Natural Capital at Knepp Estate, advocates for regenerative systems and nature-based solutions.

Joe Stanley, Head of Training and Partnerships at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Allerton Project, is a supporter of sustainable farming practices and is regularly seen in the media.

Professor John Gilliland OBE, a former President of Ulster Farmers Union, farms in Northern Ireland and has been independently verified to be ‘beyond’ net zero.

Andrew Robinson, Armstrong Watson Chartered Accountants, will chair the meeting. Armstrong Watson, our headline sponsor, represent over 3,000 farming businesses in the North and are well positioned to advise clients on the complexities around rural business.

Our Great Yorkshire Show Breakfast Meeting will see these experts debate the potential changes and will be crucial in driving forward the narrative of a resilient agricultural industry.

The meeting will address key questions, provide insights from diverse viewpoints, and offer practical tips for farmers to implement at home.

*Please note: This event is free of charge, however, either a valid show ticket or YAS membership is required to gain admission to the Great Yorkshire Showground.

With grateful thanks to our Breakfast Meeting sponsors:

The Future Farmers of Yorkshire was launched in 2010 to bring together like-minded farmers, vets and industry supporters.

Since then the group has been joined by over 1,000 forward-thinking members, eager to expand their knowledge and excel in their careers. We support them by providing a platform for debate and the sharing of ideas.

The group is supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and is open to everyone within the industry. Members are from a range of sectors and enterprise sizes, with a mix of tenants, owner-occupiers, managers and employees.

Start typing and press Enter to search