‘Routes to resilience’ focus for Oxford Farming Conference

Rural experts to discuss future of farming at hybrid event.

Food and farming experts will gather in person and online to discuss future solutions and opportunities within agriculture at the 2022 Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) which takes place next month.

Following what has been a challenging and disrupted past twelve months for the rural community, leading figures from across the sector will come together from 5 to 7 January for the OFC which this year has as its theme ‘Routes to Resilience’.

This year’s event will embrace a hybrid model, with delegates being given the opportunity to attend the conference in Oxford in person or log in via OFC organisers’ digital package. This may change if the government brings in tighter Covid restrictions over the Christmas period.

The conference will feature presentations from international speakers, research lectures, policy debates, fringe events, networking and Q and A sessions, as well as see the launch of the 2022 OFC Report: ‘Natural Capital: the battle for control’.

Thrings is continuing its long-term association with the conference by co-sponsoring the OFC Union Debate. The motion of the debate – which will be chaired by 2021 OFC conference chair, Sally Williams - is "this house believes the demise of the family farm has been greatly exaggerated”.

The motion will be proposed by Jyoti Fernandes from Via Campesina & Land Worker's Alliance and Paul Kelly of Kelly's Turkeys, and opposed by Joe Stanley from the Game and Wildlife Trust’s Allerton Project and John McCallister from the Young Farmers' Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) and the Ulster Farmers’ Union.

Elsewhere, renowned solo long-distance yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur will speak about the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and its mission to accelerate the transition to a circular economy designed to eliminate waste, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature.

Professor Sarah Bridle will also discuss how farming holds the key to net zero, and summarise the latest evidence on how different foods contribute to climate change in the Frank Parkinson Lecture.

The OFC – now in its seventy-sixth year – will be co-chaired by food safety and nutrition consultant and OFC director, Barbara Bray MBE, and Sarah Mukherjee MBE, chief executive of the Institute for Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA).

Joining delegates in person at the OFC will be two members of Thrings’ industry-leading Agriculture team: head of agriculture Duncan Sigournay, and senior associate Jonathan Thompson, a specialist in non-contentious agricultural law.

Duncan says: As good as the virtual OFC was last January, there really is no substitute for the physical conference in terms of knowledge gathering and networking.

“With so much coming down the tracks for the sector in the wake of the Agriculture and Environment Acts, this year’s OFC could be a real game changer for the industry and one not be missed. As a result, Thrings was eager to maintain its support for the conference through its sponsorship of the debate.”

To read more about the 2022 OFC, please click here.

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