The 2017 NFU Conference Programme

nfu 16 conference breakout session, day one, livestock 2_33023
The 2017 NFU Conference Programme


Day 1, Tuesday 21st February

10.15am: Opening Address (Hall 1)

  • Meurig Raymond, President, NFU

10.35 - 10.55am: Session 1 - Government (Hall 1)

  • The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Defra

Chaired by: Meurig Raymond, President, NFU

10.55 - 11.30am: Questions

11.30 - 12.30pm: Session 2 - Trade & Investments (Hall 1)

  • Ian Wright, Director General, Food & Drink Federation
  • Allie Renison, Head of Europe and Trade Policy, Institute of Directors

Chaired by: Minette Batters, Deputy President, NFU

12.30 - 1.00pm: Questions

1.00 - 2.15pm Lunch (Hall 3)

2.15 - 3.45pm: Cross-sectorial workshops

To present a picture of the ‘pipeline’ from science-based policy and regulation; through the research funding landscape; near-market research and knowledge exchange; to the adoption of innovative practices and technologies on the farm. How can the research and policy landscape better deliver gains in both productivity and environmental performance?


  • Prof Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser, Defra
  • Calum Murray, Programme Leader - AgriFood, Innovate UK
  • Richard Laverick, Chief Technical Officer, AHDB
  • Jake Freestone, Farm Manager, Overbury Enterprises

Chaired by: Dr Andrea Graham, Head of Policy Services, NFU
Location: Hall 5


Our agri-food exports have doubled in the last decade and we’ve broken down barriers and entered new markets. We all know that Brexit creates a new set of challenges. What will our access to European markets look like? What happens when we lose access to the preferential trade deals that the EU has in place? But it also means that we have a whole new set of opportunities.  Our panel will look at the key issues around trade and the UK’s market access. It will feature views from the people who are working to open up external markets, who are already trading agri-food products, and we’ll learn what their expectations are for the UK’s trading future.


  • Richard Clothier, Managing Director, Wyke Farms Ltd
  • Karen Morgan, Agriculture and Food Counsellor in China, UK Embassy
  • The Hon Alexander Downer AC, High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Australian Government
  • Stan Phillips, USDA Counsellor for Agricultural Affairs, US Embassy

Chaired by: Nick von Westenholz, Director of EU Exit & International Trade, NFU
Location: Hall 1


Brexit has triggered a host political upheaval, second-guessing of policy makers, and a general aura of uncertainty. But for all the unknowns, there are a number of things that remain unchanged.  We’re still a country with a population of 65 million; our food retailing sector is still dominated by a handful of supermarket chains; and for all their price-savviness, British shoppers still demand high quality food.  Instead of focusing on the things we don’t know, this session will focus on some of the characteristics and trends that will drive our market place. What does the food industry think will be the next big thing (and how will it impact farming)? What are the emerging expectations of shoppers on their food producers? Is artisan food or commodity production the key to thriving in the 2020s?


  • Stuart Thomson, Partner, EFFP LLP
  • Nathan Ward, Business Unit Director, Kantar Worldpanel
  • Jim Moseley, Chairman, Red Tractor
  • Robin Sundaram, Head of Responsible Sourcing, Nestle UK&I Ltd

Chaired by: Ruth Mason, Chief Food Chain Adviser, NFU
Location: Hall 8

3.45 - 4.15pm: Coffee break (Hall 3)

4.15 - 5.30pm: Session 3 - Competitiveness: Keeping ahead of the game (Hall 1)

  • Prof. Simon Blackmore, Head of Robotics and Automation, Agri-Epi Centre, Harper Adams University
  • Tom Bradshaw, Managing Partner, W Bradshaw & Son
  • David Speller, Director, Allied Group
  • Harry Hall, Managing Partner, Hall Hunter Partnership
  • Andrew Griffiths, JM Griffiths & Son

Chaired by: Guy Smith, Vice President, NFU

6.30pm: Drinks Reception (Hall 4)

7.45pm: Dinner (Hall 3)

Day 2, Wednesday 22nd February

8.00 - 9.30am: Early Birds

Making the most of the tenant sector post Brexit

NFU Tenants Forum will continue to work with you our members, your landlords small and large and government to create a frame work fit for post Brexit. Look at policy that will create a profitable tenanted sector through options and flexibility. The session will cover work that has been covered over the last 12 months by the forum and what lies ahead including our President Meurig Raymond talking about the different agreements used on their home farm.


  • Chris Cardell, NFU Tenant Forum Chair
  • Meurig Raymond, President, NFU
  • Louise Staples, Rural Surveyor, NFU

Chaired by: Chris Cardell, NFU Tenant Forum Chair
Location: Hall 9

The Future of the Upland Farmer

The NFU Uplands Forum works on behalf of Hill and Upland members in conjunction with the Livestock Board to ensure members views are represented. Over the past year, countless work with the RPA, Defra uplands team and other upland stakeholders has enabled representation of the uplands producer at the highest level. We aim to look over the last year’s work, before addressing the immediate future and the wider post Brexit future of the uplands.


  • Robin Milton, Chair, NFU Hill and Uplands Forum and Exmoor Farmer
  • Tom Dracup, Livestock Adviser, NFU

Chaired by: Robin Milton, Chair, NFU Hill and Uplands Forum
Location: Hall 7

Organics: Growth in the face of Brexit

The first Organic Early Bird’s session at the NFU Conference will see members of the NFU Organic Forum, along with industry experts tackle the challenges and opportunities Brexit may bring to the organic sector.  What could these opportunities and threats be, and how can we tackle them to ensure the organic market thrives?

The NFU Organic Forum, formed in March 2015, is made up of 13 members across all regions in England and Wales.  Forum members inform NFU policy and articulate the concerns of the organic sector, representing a unified voice of NFU organic members.  Links to National Commodity Boards within the Forum, also ensures organic members are represented across the NFU and helps foster collaboration.


  • Nicholas Saphir, OMSCo Executive Chairman
  • Stewart Batchelor, Market Intelligence Analyst, AHDB
  • John Pawsey NFU Organic Forum member, NFU National Combinable Crops Board Member & Director of Organic Arable
  • Haydn Evans, NFU Organic Forum Member & Soil Association Farmer & Grower Chairman
  • Tom Rigby, NFU Organic Forum Chairman

Chaired by: Minette Batters, Deputy President, NFU
Location: Hall 6

What’s on the horizon for the farmed environment?

The NFU Environment Forum works with members, NFU Boards, government, government agencies and other stakeholders to ensure that farmers’ views on the environment are at the forefront of policy making. We aim to create win-win situations that create benefits for all farm businesses as well as the environment.  This session will look back on the work and achievements of the Forum over the past year and look ahead to our priorities in 2017.


  • Mark Pope, Chair, NFU Environment Forum
  • Guy Smith, NFU Vice President
  • Phil Jarvis, NFU Environment Forum
  • Richard Bramley, NFU Environment Forum
  • Robert Lockhart, NFU Environment Forum
  • Ian Waller, NFU Environment Forum

Chaired by: Mark Pope, Chair, NFU Environment Forum
Location: Hall 8

The NFU Next Generation Policy Forum: shaping our own future

Come and meet the younger voice of the NFU. The Forum members want to hear your views, share what they have done in the last two years on behalf of the NFU and what they see as priorities for the years ahead.


  • Richard Bower, Forum Chair and Livestock Farmer
  • Simon Gadd, Forum Vice Chair and Combinable Crops Farmer
  • Alastair Wilson, Forum member and Horticulture Grower

Chaired by: Richard Bower, Forum Chair and Livestock Farmer
Location: Hall 5

A new and dynamic future for Welsh farming

Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs; Lesley Griffiths and NFU Cymru President; Stephen James will both outline their vision and priorities for the coming year. Following the two addresses there will be a panel debate with the speakers joined by Andrew Slade, Director of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Welsh Government, Christianne Glossop, Welsh Government Chief Veterinary Officer and Matthew Quinn, Director of Environment and Sustainable Development, Welsh Government


  • Stephen James, President, NFU Cymru
  • Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Welsh Government
  • Andrew Slade, Director of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Welsh Government
  • Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer, Welsh Government
  • Matthew Quinn, Director of Environment and Sustainable Development, Welsh Government

Chaired by: John Mercer, Director, NFU Cymru
Location: Hall 10

10.00 - 11.45am: Commodity breakout sessions

Driving dairy forward: NFU Dairy’s three key themes for the future

The NFU Dairy Chairman and team will present on the work of the dairy board and their thoughts on the future. Key industry stakeholders will be on hand to contribute to the question and answer session.


  • Michael Oakes, Farmer and NFU Dairy Board Chairman
  • Sian Davies, Chief Dairy Adviser, NFU
  • Sophie James, Dairy Adviser, NFU

Chaired by: Melanie Squires, South West Regional Director, NFU
Location: Hall 5

Outlook for livestock in a changing world  

Thoughts from Brussels on the impact of Brexit and Charles Secombe on the work of the livestock board and his thoughts on the future. A selection of key industry stakeholders will be on hand to contribute to the question and answer session.


  • Breffni Carpenter, Agriculture Counsellor & Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union
  • Charles Sercombe, Farmer and NFU Livestock Board Chairman
  • John Royle, Chief Livestock Adviser, NFU
  • Tom Dracup, Livestock Adviser, NFU

Chaired by: David Hall, North West Regional Director, NFU
Location: Hall 8

Cereals, Pulses and Oilseeds -  Ingredients for Success

Thoughts on the NFU’s work for arable farmers and impact of Brexit.  Mike Hambly, Guy Gagen and Tori Morgan on the work of the Combinable Crops Board and thoughts on 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.


  • Mike Hambly, Farmer and Chairman, NFU Combinable Crops Board
  • Guy Gagen, Chief Arable Adviser, NFU
  • Tori Morgan, Combinable Crops Adviser, NFU

Chaired by: Tom Allen-Stevens, Editor, Crop Production Magazine
Location: Hall 9

Horticulture & Potatoes: Mission Possible

As growers weigh up the post-referendum prospects against the price and policy pressures closer to home, 2017 is set to be a year when everything counts. Businesses will need to adapt, innovate and focus on performance if they are to emerge on top.


The open Q&A session will debate the new relationships, economies and policies that are set to shape the future of growing. 

Chaired by: Michael Barker, Editor, Fresh Produce Journal
Location: Hall 6

Poultry - Consumer: consumption and demand and sector challenges

The session will be split into two. Given that 100% of the sector’s income is from the market place we need to continue our focus on the consumer. The first half of the poultry session will focus on this - a presentation from Sophie Barter, Meat, Fish and Poultry Client Manager at Kantar Worldpanel outlining consumer demand and trends over the coming 3-5 years. The second half of the session will be a Q&A panel focussing on current issues in the sector. We also hope to be joined by Chief Vet, Nigel Gibbens.


  • Sophie Barter, Meat, Fish and Poultry Client Manager, Kantar Worldpanel
  • Prof. Nigel Gibbens CBE, Chief Veterinary Officer

Q&A Panel

  • Duncan Priestner, Poultry Board Chairman, NFU
  • James Hook, P D Hook (Group) Ltd
  • Gareth Griffiths, Oakland Farm Eggs Ltd
  • Phillip Crawley, Sunrise Poultry Farms Ltd
  • Charles Bourns, Copa Cogeca

Chaired by: Adam Bedford, North East Regional Director, NFU
Location: Hall 10

The Future of the Beet Crop after 2017

Things will look very different in the beet growing and processing world beyond 1 October 2017. Quotas will be gone and following the signing of Article 50 our trading arrangements with Europe and the rest of the world will be up for grabs.

We have an exciting session planned, kicking off with Matteo Iagatti, former policy adviser to CIBE who will present the work he has been doing on behalf of UK growers looking at the historic linkages between the world price for sugar and the European price subsequently achieved and how growers can most accurately predict where their price will be going forward.

British Sugar has been working on a report which hails the success of the British Sugar Beet Industry and its impact of the wider rural economy. “A Home-Grown Success Story” will be formally launched in our break-out session.

We will conclude with a question and answer panel with William Martin, Chairman of NFU Sugar and Paul Kenward, MD of British Sugar.

Chaired by: Robert Sheasby, East Anglia Regional Director, NFU
Location: Hall 7

12noon - 1.00pm: Session 4 - Ingredients for success (Hall 1)

  • George Eustice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Defra
  • Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Welsh Government

Chaired by: George Pascoe-Watson, Senior Partner, Portland Communications

1.00pm: Closing Address (Hall 1)

  • Meurig Raymond, President, NFU

1.15 - 1.45pm: AGM (Hall 1)

1.15 - 2.15pm: Lunch (Hall 3)

Last edited on: 16:02:2017

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