NFU18: Conference Programme

NFU18 tractor NFU conference_51323

Day One: Tuesday 20 February

10.15 - 10.45am: Opening Address (Hall 1) 

Watch live and again here

Meurig Raymond, MBE FRAgS, President, NFU 

10.45 - 12.45pm: Political Session (Hall 1)

Watch live and again here

The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Chaired by Meurig Raymond, MBE FRAgS, President, NFU 

Sue Hayman MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Chaired by Minette Batters, Deputy President, NFU

12.45 - 2.00pm: Lunch (Hall 3)

2.00 - 3.30pm: Cross Sector Workshops:

Managing change and building financial resilience

Hall 4 - report and watch again will be available after the session

With the risks and opportunities presented by Brexit, this session will discuss the work of the NFU in developing risk management tools to mitigate price volatility. It will also address how we have been engaging with industry professionals to help farmers plan for the change to maximise opportunity and provide business resilience.


John Lancaster, Head of EU Dairy Consulting/Commodity Risk Manager, INTL FCStone

Richard Bower, Next Generation Forum Chairman, NFU

Neil Wilson, Head of Agriculture, HSBC

Tom Bradshaw, NFU member

Rohit Kaushish, NFU Economist, NFU

Chaired by William White, South East Regional Director, NFU

Driving food production with environmental performance

Hall 1 - watch live and again here

In current times of great uncertainty and change, the NFU recognises the pressure its members face to be stewards of our environment as well as commercial food producers.

This session will discuss future opportunities and offer ways our members can use their environmental assets to the greatest effect.


Diane Mitchell, Chief Environment Adviser, NFU

Rob Cooke, Director of EU Exit, Natural England

David Elliott, Group Director - Strategy and New Markets, Wessex Water

Chaired by Andrew Clark, Director of Policy, NFU

Future-proofing your business by safeguarding your people

Hall 8 - report and watch again will be available after the session

An interactive and inspiring session, to explore how every farmer can face up to the challenge of improving safety, health and wellbeing in their business. We’ll discuss how farm accidents are not inevitable and how farmers perceive and manage risks, exploring barriers to change and hearing from farmers who are taking action.


Thomas Price, Farm Safety and Transport Adviser, NFU

Rick Brunt, Head of Vulnerable Workers, Agriculture and Waste Recycling Unit, Health and Safety Executive

Matt Carter, Head of Behavioural Insight and Evaluation, Health and Safety Executive

Aarun Naik, Counsellor /psychotherapist and Nuffield Farming Scholar

Chaired by Adam Bedford, North East Regional Director, NFU

Welsh Agriculture: embracing change for success

Hall 5 - report and watch again will be available after the session

NFU Cymru and key Welsh industry stakeholders will outline their thoughts on how we can achieve our vision for a productive, profitable and progressive industry that can deliver jobs, growth and investment for all.


John Davies, NFU Cymru President  

Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Welsh Government

Andrew Slade, Director of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Welsh Government

Andy Richardson, Chair, Food and Drink Board

Laura Elliott, Chairman, YFC Wales

Chaired by John Mercer, NFU Cymru Director

Launch of EFRA Committee’s Report into Brexit: Trade in Food

Hall 10 - report and watch again will be available after the session

Neil Parish MP, Chair of the House of Commons cross-party EFRA Committee, will be launching the EFRA Committee’s report into Brexit and the trade in food. This report looks at how a potential trade deal could affect farmers, food processors and consumers.

The report aims to highlight to the Government the impact of different trade scenarios on the agri-food sector, and to ensure that the agriculture sector is not forgotten when trade negotiations begin in March.

The session will allow for plenty of debate as to the future challenges for the agricultural sector, and the role of Parliament in ensuring that the Government properly represents the needs of agriculture.


Neil Parish MP, Chair of the EFRA Select Committee

Chaired by Nick von Westenholz, Director of EU Exit and International Trade, NFU

3.30 - 4.00pm: Coffee break

4.00 - 5.30pm: Commodity Sessions:

DAIRY (Hall 5)

Dairy’s new dawn

This session will not be recorded

Just short of two years since the Brexit decision, there still remain many questions about what the vote will actually means for UK dairy farmers. To help navigate this uncertainty and provide some clarity on what opportunities lie ahead for dairy both here in the UK and wider afield we’ve pulled together an expert panel including:


Robin Manning, Head of Agricultural Trade Team, Defra

Conor Mulvihill, Irish farmer’s son, Director of the Irish Dairy Industry Organisation and member of the EDA Brexit Group

Jannes Maes, Belgian dairy farmer and chair of CEJA, the EU Young Farmer Organisation

Michael Oakes, dairy farmer and Dairy Board Chairman, NFU

Sian Davies, Chief Dairy Adviser, NFU

Chaired by

Melanie Squires, South West Regional Director, NFU


Navigating the future - building opportunity

This session will not be recorded

Charles Sercombe will update members on the activity of the NFU livestock board and his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the UK livestock sector. He will be joined by George Eustice MP and Nigel Gibbens CBE, UK CVO, from Defra, who will talk about government policy on bovine TB, antibiotics, disease threats, international trade and the future of livestock traceability services. The panel discussion will include other industry leads and NFU chief advisers.


George Eustice MP, Minister for Food, Farming and Marine Environment, Defra

Nigel Gibbens CBE, UK Chief Veterinary Officer, Defra

Charles Sercombe, Livestock Board Chairman, NFU

Chaired by

David Hall, North West Regional Director, NFU


Brexit, Volatility & Combinable Crops – Influencing Change for Future Success

This session will not be recorded

Arable farmers face managing volatility in their businesses and with Brexit on the horizon hear from Richard Counsell about his ideas for future market based solutions. Alongside Brexit business continues as usual, Mike Hambly and Jack Watts will be giving you their thoughts and priorities for the future. A selection of key industry stakeholders and NFU Combinable Crops Board members will be on hand to contribute to the question and answer session.


Michael Hambly, Combinable Crops Board Chairman, NFU

Jack Watts, Chief Combinable Crops Adviser, NFU

Richard Counsell, Managing Director, Stable

Chaired by

Robert Newbery, West Midlands Regional Director, NFU


Growing Horticulture in a Post-CAP Landscape

This session will not be recorded

Brexit marks the biggest political transformation that a generation of British growers will likely ever see. Farming leaders have a big part to play in shaping agricultural policy for the post-Brexit world. We will be discussing how AHDB and the NFU can help farmers and growers adapt to change, and seize every opportunity to enhance productivity under an ambitious new policy framework for UK agriculture.


Tom Hind, Chief Strategy Officer, Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board

Ali Capper, Horticulture and Potatoes Board Chair, NFU

Chaired by

Hayley Campbell-Gibbons, Chief Horticulture and Potatoes Adviser, NFU

POULTRY (Hall 10)

Recipe for change – ingredients for success

This session will not be recorded

The session will cover the NFU’s key policy areas and our ongoing work to achieve the best possible outcome from Brexit for our poultry members, identifying key considerations and opportunities for their businesses. We will also receive an update from Kantar on consumption data, finishing with a Q & A panel.


Duncan Priestner, Poultry Board Chairman, NFU

Dr Dylan Bradley, Director, Agra C E A S Consulting Ltd

Tom Keen, EU Exit and International Trade Adviser, NFU

Helena King, Client Executive, Kantar UK Ltd

James Hook, P D Hook (Group) Ltd, Poultry Board member

Chaired by

William White, South East Regional Director, NFU

SUGAR (Hall 7)

What’s the recipe for a thriving home grown sugar sector?

This session will not be recorded

Post quota, the UK sugar industry can grow and sell as much as it is able to. But this is not without challenges: how can larger crops, longer campaigns and volatility in world markets be successfully managed? Our commercial analyst Arthur Marshall will be outlining the world market situation and we will be hearing the thoughts of NFU Sugar Board Chairman Michael Sly and British Sugar Managing Director Paul Kenward on the necessary ingredients for a thriving home grown sugar sector.


Michael Sly, NFU Sugar Board Chairman
Arthur Marshall, Commercial Analyst, NFU Sugar
Paul Kenward, MD, British Sugar

Chaired by

Robert Sheasby, East Anglia Regional Director, NFU

6.30 - 7.45pm: Drinks Reception+ 

8.00pm: Dinner+

Day Two: Wednesday 21 February

9.00 - 10.00am: Trade (Hall 1)

Watch live and again here

Shanker Singham, Director of Economic Policy and Prosperity Studies, Legatum Institute

Julian Braithwaite, WTO Ambassador

Chaired by Meurig Raymond, MBE FRAgS, President, NFU 

10.00am - 10.45am: Industrial strategy and investment (Hall 1)

Watch live and again here

The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Chaired by Guy Smith, Vice President, NFU 

10.45 - 11.15am: Coffee break (Hall 3)

11.15 - 12.45pm: Businesses preparing for change (Hall 1)

Watch live and again here

Paul Murphy, CEO, Jordans

David Gunner, CEO, Dovecote Park

Jo Whitfield, CEO, Co-op Food

Derek Wilkinson, Managing Director, Sandfields Farms

Tomas Pietrangeli, Managing Director, Arla UK

Chaired by Terry Jones, Director General, NFU

12.45 - 1.00pm: Closing Address (Hall 1)

Watch live and again here

Meurig Raymond, MBE FRAgS, President, NFU 

1.00 - 2.00pm: Lunch (Hall 3)

2.00 - 3.00pm: AGM

*timings subject to change
+pre-booked tickets only