Farming conference attracts political heavyweights

The 2015 Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) kicks off tomorrow, and a wide range of speakers will address a number of vital issues relevant to the meat industry.

This year’s conference, held at the Oxford University Examination Schools from 6-8 January, aims to champion ‘ambitious agriculture’.

Chair of the event Richard Whitlock said: “This year we will introduce a very strong line-up of speakers representing all views on modern farming. We will explore how important it is to recognise that, ultimately, success comes from within.”

With the general election approaching and devolution a hot topic following the Scottish referendum, there are a number of political heavyweights present on Wednesday morning: Elizabeth Truss, Defra secretary of state; Huw Irranca Davies MP, shadow minister environment, food and rural affairs; Stuart Agnew MEP, UKIP’s agricultural spokesman; and Richard Lochhead, the Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment.

Elsewhere at the conference, Philip Lymbery, chief executive of Compassion in World Farming and co-author of ‘Farmageddon’, will discuss sustainability, and The Guardian’s George Monbiot will look at future challenges. Both have been outspoken on their views on the meat industry in the past.

Livestock is one of the subjects to be examined on Thursday afternoon in the ‘Smart farming: Guardian of the environment?’ session.

Whitlock added: “Throughout the conference delegates will have many opportunities to debate with speakers and fellow attendees. Oxford also offers some of the best networking anywhere in British agriculture.”

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