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ORFC 2020

Going to the Oxford Real Farming Conference on the 8th and 9th January? Then why not come along and meet some of the NFFN steering group farmers?  The Woodland Trust, who are kindly hosting the NFFN, have their stand in St Aldates Church (just opposite the main conference venue in the Oxford Town Hall).  Please do come and share your ideas with us about the NFFN and the future of farming. You can also chat with the Woodland Trust who highlight how trees can support the delivery of  nature friendly farming whilst also helping to mitigate climate change.  Come and find out about their subsidized tree planting schemes too!

If you’ve been to the ORFC before you’ll know there are many exciting sessions, here are a few that we’d like to highlight to our members.

Value of Tree Fodder in Silvopasture Systems:  Wednesday 8th Jan 10.30am Assembly Room

If you are a livestock farmer or interested in tree fodder then do come along to the Woodland Trust and Pasture Fed Livestock Associations seminar.

Silvopasture is an ancient practice that integrates trees and pasture into a single system for raising livestock. Research suggests silvopasture is the most effective climate change mitigation solution of all agricultural strategies (Project Drawdown).  However, there are also animal welfare and productivity benefits through the provision of shelter, shade and as a valuable source of food.  This session will give a brief overview of what Silvopasture is and its benefits before delving into more detail about why two producers are planting trees on their farms. It will have a particular focus on trees as a food source and highlight new research on the mineral composition of tree leaves and how best to utilise some of the concentrations identified as a supplement for sheep.

Practical Ways to Achieve Net Zero in UK farming: Wednesday 8th Jan 12.00 Council Chamber

There’s no doubt that Government’s legally binding target of net zero carbon by 2050 has huge implications for farming and land management in the UK. In this session, experts from all sides of the debate will interrogate exactly what net zero means for farmers and land managers on the ground. Discussion will range from the science that underpins net zero, to the politics behind the ambitious target, the policies we will need to make it a reality and the pioneering action some farmers are already taking.

Networking Session: Practical Ways to Achieve Net Zero in UK farming: Wednesday 8th Jan 13.30 Long Room

In this networking session, which follows on from a panel debate in the Council Chamber, farmers are invited to take part in group discussions, tailored to their specific farm context, about practical action they can take on their farm right now to tackle emissions and store carbon. Discussions will be broken down into arable, livestock, horticulture and mixed farming, and will be facilitated by representatives from Wildlife and Countryside Link and the Nature-Friendly Farming Network. Attendees should leave the session with clear advice and actions they can implement on their farms.

The Circular Farm: Thursday 9th Jan 12:00 Court Room

A circular economy aims to create a closed-loop system by turning waste into resources. When this theory is applied to agriculture, what does a circular farm look like? This session, facilitated by partners of the FABulous Farmers project, will be based on informal, but practical knowledge exchange between farmers on the success and challenges they have faced in implementing sustainable farming activities such as agroforestry, cover cropping, minimum tillage and input reduction. Innovative farmers such as George Young and Martin Lines will be on hand to share their journey, provoke challenging discussions and answer practical questions.

Environmental Land Management Schemes: State of Play: Thursday 9th Jan 14.30 Council Chamber

The new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) which will replace the EU CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) in England has been in development since mid-2018. This session with DEFRA, farmers and experts will help participants to get up-to-speed and to feed back on the latest details like expected outcomes, payments, current tests and trials; and explore how ELMS links to other key developing areas of policy, like regulation. Most speakers do have experience of doing or planning tests and trials and we do want to bring that out as practical, real life information. Participants can share suggestions and concerns in a Q&A after the short presentations and via cards given on each seat, which we will collate to provide us and DEFRA with valuable insight following ORFC.

For the full ORFC programme please click here. We hope to see you there.

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