2020 Agronomy and business management conference speakers

Richard Orr.
Richard Orr.

The arable conference will take place on Tuesday 14th January 2020, commencing at 9.00am, at Greenmount Campus, CAFRE.

This all-day conference jointly organised by CAFRE, the Ulster Arable Society and the Ulster Farmers’ Union, will provide arable growers with an update on current agronomy and business management issues.

Dr Stephen Foster

Dr Stephen Foster

The event organisers have arranged for a variety of top speakers to address delegates on the day. They are as follows:

Opening address: Ivor Ferguson - UFU president

Ivor Ferguson is a sheep and cereal farmer from Markethill in County Armagh. He is married with four children. He graduated from Harper Adams University with an HND in agriculture and is a founder member of Armagh Quality Lamb Group. Ivor has always been a strong supporter of the Union.  He was chair of the UFU pork and bacon policy committee and represented the Union at the Pork and Bacon Forum. He is also a member of the CAFRE Advisory Group, representing the intensive livestock sector.

Ivor has successfully completed four years (2014 - 2018), as deputy president of the UFU representing beef and sheep, arable and vegetable, the intensive sector and also hill farming committees. Ivor was elected president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union at the AGM in April 2018. 

Mark Buckingham.

Mark Buckingham.

Mark Buckingham - Corporate engagement, Bayer Crop Science

Mark has a BSc in agriculture from Reading University UK and is a 1996 Nuffield Farming Scholar. After university Mark became a farm business consultant in East Anglia and then spent two years in marketing and communications for a grain trading company.

Mark joined Monsanto in 1999 in the UK, moving to a media relations role at the company’s headquarters in St Louis, USA and later Monsanto’s Australian business in Melbourne covering media and government relations. He then returned to Europe working in Brussels and for their vegetable seed business in the Netherlands.

Mark joined Bayer with their acquisition of Monsanto in June 2018.      

Ben Fraser

Ben Fraser

Ben Fraser - Senior trader, W & R Barnett Ltd

Ben Fraser is a senior trader at W&R Barnett, the largest importer of agricultural and feed materials across the island of Ireland.  He is passionate about the financial markets and their impact on the local agricultural industry. 

Ben graduated from Queens University with a First-Class Honours in finance in 2006 and later joined W&R Barnett as a trader in 2008.  He has traded many different commodities such as vegetable oils, rape meal and maize.  He is actively engaged in international trading and is instrumental in delivering superior quality, cost and value to the Irish feed industry.   

Dr Patrick Forrestal - Head of soil and plant nutrition, Teagasc

Dr Patrick Forrestal

Dr Patrick Forrestal

Dr. Patrick J. Forrestal heads up a soil and plant nutrition lab at the Teagasc, Soils and Environment Research Centre at Johnstown Castle in Ireland. His team of 10, focuses on plant and soil nutrition solutions in the synthetic, organic and bio-based recycled fertiliser space which meet environmental challenges and build soil health.

Dr Patrick J. Forrestal’s PhD research at University of Maryland, USA, has been adopted to reduce nitrogen loss in that region. His work on N fertiliser in Ireland has provided the largest single greenhouse gas and ammonia mitigation option for Irish agriculture, now adopted in the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan.

Dr Steve Foster - Entomologist, Rothamsted Research

Dr Steve Foster joined Rothamsted Research 27 years ago. He currently works on insecticide resistance in crop pests, including aphids, beetles, weevils, thrips and moths. This has involved studying the success of resistant insects, when insecticides are applied, i.e., how resistant they are, and any potential handicaps they may suffer in the absence of insecticides, such as vulnerability to attack by predators.

Steve’s findings are being used to advise growers, agronomists and regulators on how best to protect UK crops from insecticide-resistant pests. His work is also providing a useful insight into the processes driving evolution and selection, something that Charles Darwin would have appreciated greatly.

Richard Orr - AHDB monitor farmer, Downpatrick

Richard Orr farms with his father at Meadow Farm in Downpatrick. He grows winter wheat and winter barley on 75 arable ha and the rotation also includes potatoes, rye, grass and a small area of vegetables.  The soil is a dry, free-draining medium, stony loam with good organic matter. Richard has recently dropped rye and has opted for W oats in the rotation to help build more winter wheat into the rotation. His aim is to grow the business while becoming more efficient, and to add value by marketing produce more directly to the end user, such as with his potatoes which he sells in the farm shop.

The farm shop has been running for 21 years and has undergone a major expansion in the past couple of years incorporating a new tearoom. The farm shop and tearoom now have eight full-time and seven part-time staff while he and his father do all the farm work. Richard is also into his second year as the first AHDB monitor farm for NI. During the three years of the monitor farm programme, Richard hopes to share learning with fellow farmers that will challenge his thinking, to ultimately become a better farmer.

Panel questions and answer session: Will be chaired by David Wright, Northern Editor, Irish Farmers Journal

How to Book your Place?

Conference cost is £25 per person and booking is via the UFU website www.ufuni.org/events. Bookings received after the 9th January will incur an additional £5 charge.

If you have difficulty booking online, please contact Angela Scott at UFU HQ on 028 9037 0222. Note: Places cannot be reserved and payment in full is required at the time of booking by credit or debit card. For conference speakers or facilities queries contact: CAFRE KT admin on 02894426790 or Email: kt.admin@daera-ni.gov.uk