Hundreds of farming enthusiasts from across the UK converged on the classrooms and examination halls of Oxford University, last week, for the 2019 Oxford Farming Conference.
Headline speaker, Defra Secretary, Michael Gove warned about the dangers of a no-deal Brexit and spoke of the importance of productive farming and environmental enhancement. He promised a “world of opportunity” for UK agriculture – so long as farmers embrace life after Brexit. Many felt that the sentiments in his speech were positive; however they keenly await the legislation to deliver these assurances.
Yet again, the Future Farmers of Yorkshire group was well represented, with a strong contingent making the trip South. The Yorkshire Agricultural Society sponsored three individuals to attend the conference. Following an open application process, Richard Pears, Sarah Hunt and Sarah Dean were awarded the 2019 OFC Scholarships. Sarah Dean, from Brandesburton, was keen to attend the conference to learn more, meet new people, absorb new lines of thought and encounter innovation. Her comments after attending were, “I thoroughly enjoyed it and really got a great deal out of the three days. It was an experience I will never forget and I think the benefits will continue throughout my career in agriculture, with the contacts that I made.”
South Yorkshire farmer, Jim Beary, and East Riding farmer, and 2016 YAS Nuffield Scholar, Richard Hinchliffe attended the conference as part of the Emerging Leaders programme. The OFC’s
Emerging Leaders, are 30-45 year-olds with leadership potential who have been selected and sponsored by industry organisations to attend the conference. They had an exclusive Q&A session with the NFU President, where Ms Batters explained that when she first came to the Oxford Farming Conference 20 years ago that she never imagined she would be the president of the National
Farmers Union. She encouraged those in the room to enjoy the experience of the Oxford Farming Conference and go home inspired and view anything as possible.