NFU stages its national conference

FARMING at the heart of the economy will be the key theme when farmers and growers meet at the annual NFU Conference next week.

Politics and business will be the focus on day one of the two day event at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

NFU President Peter Kendall will open the morning session and he will be joined on the main platform by Defra Secretary of State Caroline Spelman and HSBC Chief Economist Dennis Turner.

Debate the business challenges for agriculture in a global market will see NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond leading the afternoon session alongside Graham Bartlett, Managing Director of E.On Energy, Paul Conway, Senior Director of Cargill incorporated and Professor Ian Crute CBE, Chief Scientist for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

The second day starts with a series of workshops where delegates can hear updates on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), farm-based renewable energy and bovine TB.

Speakers will include MP Jim Paice, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, and Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens.

Question Time completes the conference when NFU Vice President Gwyn Jones will ask a stellar line-up; Is modern agriculture palatable? BBC Broadcaster Tom Heap will quiz the panel of experts including the Rt Hon John Gummer, Sustainable Food Trust Director Patrick Holden, Farming Minister Jim Paice, food journalist Jay Rayner and NFU President Peter Kendall.

NFU Vice President Gwyn Jones said: “This year’s conference has attracted more than 900 delegates and is a complete sell-out. It promises to be an exciting couple of days, with the focus firmly on farming being at the heart of the economy. We have also managed to secure a line-up of top class speakers who will be able to deliver unique insight, opinion, and top level analysis on all the major food and farming issues.”