Happy new year to you all! I hope that your celebrations, no matter where you were in the world on New Year’s Eve, were full of hope and joy to welcome the new year in. The turning of the year is always an opportunity to reframe things in your mind, set plans for the year ahead, think about the things you could improve on or simply be thankful for the things that you did or the people you spent your life with over the last year.
2018 is set to be quite a busy one for me, and I must admit that I’m slightly agitated to get going with things. Today I’m driving back down to Essex after having spent the new year break in Scotland. It’ll only be a (very) brief stay back home however as tomorrow I’ll be on the road (or rather rails) again on my way to the Oxford Real Farming Conference. This will be my third time at the conference and I’m really looking forward to seeing old faces, meeting new ones and attending some inspiring talks and debates. The line up this year looks super.
Some of the events on offer include:
- Defra Secretary Michael Gove will be giving a Q&A session for delegates, which is certainly not to be missed.
- Lots of talks and debates on the subject of Brexit – including…concerns of on-farm arable labour, markets and systems available to farmers post-Brexit
- Info on permaculture and alternative farming systems
- Using agroforestry to aid livestock farming
- A debate about what’s happening to the world’s insect populations
- Animal welfare discussions
- Renewable energy discussions
- How to achieve small scale abbatoirs
…and much more.
About 50% of delegates are practising farmers, with the other 50% made up of smallholders, academics, policy makers, campaigners, scientists and others. Over 200 people had to be turned away this year, due to the conference’s increasing popularity and good reputation.
The more established Oxford Farming Conference will be taking place in the city at the same time as the ORFC, although mainly due to the price(!) I have been unable to secure a ticket for this one. I will endeavour to discover the main points that come out of it however and let you know as I know. I will be tweeting over the next few days and you can find me at @benjy_eagle.
Happy new year!