Oxford Farming Conference announces debate at Cereals 2017

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The Oxford Farming Conference will be holding two important sessions of the Arable Conference at Cereals 2017 at Boothby Graffoe in Lincolnshire in June.

The famous Oxford Farming Conference debate, which incites important and lively discussion on a pertinent topic in the industry, will be taking place again this year at Cereals on Wednesday 14th June, with the motion “this house believes pre-harvest use of glysophate should be banned”.

The Oxford Farming debate is always a lively, hearty discussion. It’s serious, but humorous, and it was a real highlight of Cereals last year, with a packed floor and great feedback. It’s free to come along, and I would really encourage people to take part. The debate is thrown open to the floor and you can have two minutes to make your point.

Tom Allen-Stevens

The following day, a panel discussion will look at innovations in plant breeding to feed the world. Both events are open and free to those attending the Cereals event.

The Oxford Farming debate will be chaired by Farming Today’s Anna Hill, with Nick Mole, Pesticide Action Network policy officer, proposing the motion with Steven Jacobs of Organic Farmers and Growers. NFU Vice President, Guy Smith, will oppose the motion with Sean Sparling, Chairman of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants.

Organiser of the two events, Tom Allen-Stevens, arable farmer and editor of CPM magazine, is looking forward to building on the success of last year’s debate at Cereals.

He said: “The Oxford Farming debate is always a lively, hearty discussion. It’s serious, but humorous, and it was a real highlight of Cereals last year, with a packed floor and great feedback. It’s free to come along, and I would really encourage people to take part. The debate is thrown open to the floor and you can have two minutes to make your point.”

The panel discussion, Innovations In Plant Breeding Hold The Key To Feeding The World, is chaired by Tom Allen-Stevens and will hear views from a variety of experts including Bill Clark, technical director of NIAB, Charlie Baxter of Syngenta and Professor Mike Bevan from the John Innes Centre. The panellists will talk about new technologies in plant breeding, genome editing in particular, and the opportunities these may hold for UK and global agriculture, before opening the floor to questions.

Mr Allen-Stevens added: “We are on the cusp of the next green revolution, especially in certain aspects of gene editing. The panel discussion isn’t designed to be controversial, but inspirational. It’s more about horizon-scanning, looking at the challenges and opportunities in this area. The calibre of panellists is excellent this year and will prompt some really exciting opinions and discussion.”

Cereals is the arable industry’s leading technical event, attended by over 24,000 farmers, agronomists and industry professionals.

The debate and panel discussion sponsored by Oxford Farming Conference are designed to engage and inform those in the industry in important discussion as part of the excellent programme of topical information and events.

The Oxford Farming debate will be preceded by a politics session with Meurig Raymond and DEFRA Minister George Eustice.

For the first time this year, Oxford Farming Conference will also be hosting a debate at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland at the end of June.