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NFFN at ORFC 2022

Farming for Climate Action: What are we waiting for?

Online – Friday 7 January, 11am-12.30pm

With agriculture contributing 12% of the UK’s total GhG emissions through systems that are driving rampant biodiversity loss, we need solutions that can be scaled at pace and adopted by many.

Our session at ORFC will launch our new infographic for tackling climate change through step changes across the farm landscape that actively contribute to a nature-rich, net-zero future. Our panel discussion will explore how farming has a positive role to play in tackling global warming and will debate the ways in which agriculture can deliver meaningful climate action. Our five panellists will discuss the opportunities and challenges in pushing for change at a farm level through shared first-hand experiences from farmers across the UK and from those working on practical solutions to make wide-scale adoption of climate-friendly farming happen.

While addressing this challenge is fraught with uncertainty – from the future of agriculture regulation and payment schemes to trading negotiations and changing consumer demands – can farming really afford to wait several years for new developments to lead the way? It’s time to review and adjust our farming practices now, many of which will improve farm business resilience and profitability.

  • Be inspired by farmers who are making positive changes for the climate
  • Take the opportunity to ask our panel your questions
  • Learn more about our step-change approach
  • Discover how farms can integrate multiple actions that proactively tackle climate change

MEET OUR PANELLISTS

 

Martin Lines, UK Chair of the NFFN

Martin is an arable farmer and contractor in South Cambridgeshire with special interest in farm conservation management. He will talk about the impacts of climate change on his farm and the practices he employs to tackle this, including the scale of policy and government support that is urgently needed to make climate action happen.

 

Victoria Prentis, DEFRA

Victoria was appointed Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 16 September 2021. Her responsibilities for Defra include farming and food, and she is the lead Minister for the agri-food chain. Victoria was previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 14 February 2020 to 15 September 2021. Victoria will discuss the direction of travel in agriculture policy and the sector’s role in addressing climate change.

Dr Prysor Williams, Bangor University

Prysor is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Management at Bangor University. He was raised on an upland livestock farm, and is still very much a hands-on farmer. Much of his research is at the interface of agriculture and the environment, with current projects focusing on sustainable intensification of livestock systems, strategies to meet Net Zero ambitions, and the impacts of different grazing regimes on the environmental and economic performance of farms. He will discuss his experience of assessing the impacts of farming on climate change and the positive changes farming can make.

Helen Keys, farmer & enterpreneur

Helen farms alongside her husband, Charlie, in Northern Ireland and they are the first commercial producers of Irish grown linen in forty years. Helen is a co-founder of Source Grow, an online platform to help farmers decide what to grow to suit their soil and local market demand. She is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at Queen’s University Belfast and an Innovation Broker for the Water Innovation Network, working to create nature-based solutions to improve water quality. She will share her experience of nature-friendly farming and discuss her views on the marketplace and the role of supply chains in supporting the sector’s transition.

Ellie Brodie, independent consultant

Ellie has over 20 years’ policy, research and campaigning experience on environment, farming, rural and community development issues. Previously she led The Wildlife Trusts’ land management policy work, SRUC’s Rural Policy Centre and citizen action research at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). Ellie is a trustee of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. She will discuss policy development in governments across the UK and her views on what agriculture is waiting for in addressing climate change through farming and land use.

MEET OUR SPEAKERS

Denise Walton, Peelham Farm 

Farmer, food producer and ecologist, Denise lives in the Scottish Borders where she farms in partnership with her husband and son. Irish by nationality, Denise was born and bought up in Central Africa (Zambia). She studied horticulture in her native Ireland followed by degrees to post-graduate level in Environmental Science and Landscape Ecology at the University of London. While developing the fledgling farm business with her husband she had her own practice for some 20 years as a Landscape and Ecological Advisor, during which she also lectured on conservation and wildlife management at Borders College for 9 years. In professional practice, she was a member of both the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and the Landscape Institute. She is now fully involved as a partner in the farm business, in which she is Managing Partner with main responsibility for the diversification and development of food production from the farm’s livestock through the on-farm butchery and for the farm’s ecological management. She is a Director of the Pasture-for-Life Association, on the Scottish steering group of the Nature Friendly Farming Network and a Soil Association Farmer Ambassador for Agroecology.

Hywel Morgan, Esgairllaethdy

Hywel farms beef and sheep at Esgairllaethdy in Myddfai, Llandovery, on the western end of the Brecon Beacons. The farm comprises 230 acres, including 50 acres of conservation grazing, plus grazing rights on the adjoining common land known as Mynydd Du, where his cattle help manage the land for biodiversity. There are also 25 acres of native woodland. Hywel is passionate about selling his produce direct to customers, where he loves talking about how his animals are reared and the important role they play. He believes farmers and consumers need to connect more and together, can drive change for a better planet. After doing a Farming Connect Management exchange study trip on low input farming, Hywel decided to stop using fertiliser, chemicals and cut back on bought-in feed, working with nature not against it. He plants thousands of trees every year in hedgerows and lets these hedges grow up and out to provide shelter for livestock, plus food for wildlife. He believes biodiverse rich upland farms are underestimated for the amount of carbon they already sequester, through rich tapestries of grasses and mosses. Hywel champions a working farmed landscape, the importance of rural communities and how vital it is that we protect our farm businesses for future farming generations. Hywel is on our Welsh steering group.

To view the Oxford Real Farming Conference programme, book your ticket or join our online event, visit: https://orfc.org.uk/orfc-2022-programme/