Blog: Why we're planning our 2016 conference NOW

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chris taylor, nfu staff_275_410It’s only June, but work for next year’s annual NFU Conference is already underway. Chris Taylor, NFU membership events manager, talks about the work involved in setting up such a big event in the organisation’s calendar.

He writes:

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There are some things you just can’t plan on – like the horsemeat scandal in 2013 – which can help the theme or content of our annual conference, but the bare bones start forming as soon as the dust has settled from the previous event.

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400 of you told us exactly what you thought

First and foremost – we take a look back at what worked well, what didn’t go down so well, so we can take stock and look at new ways of doing things. As an NFU member, you will no doubt have your own views about which parts of the Conference you enjoyed more than others and in fact, more than 400 of you told us exactly what you DID think which is invaluable to the whole process. So thank you.

But some things are constant. Booking the venue, hotels, transport, and negotiating rates can take time and patience, and lining up sponsors for the whole event needs to be done early. Don’t forget the after-dinner speaker – much as we’d love to have Giles Brandreth year after year, we do try to be different, but juggling diaries can be an art in itself, and needs firming up sharpish.

At this point in time, the general look of the two-day conference – sessions, set design, mobile apps, stakeholder invites – are moving ahead nicely. But we have lots more to do before you head back to Birmingham in 2016 – not least of which is booking speakers – last year we had over 40!

This is just the tip of iceberg – in the coming months, we’ll be thinking about what key messages we will want to be telling you - our members - the industry and the nation’s media come February. Regardless of what these messages are, the culmination is always the same – the NFU and its members coming together for one of farming’s biggest events in the agricultural calendar.

Next year's NFU Conference will run on February 23-24 2016 - see you there!