NFU23: See our 2023 NFU Conference programme

27 January 2023

A promotional image for the NFU's 2023 annual conference

The NFU's annual conference returns to the ICC in Birmingham 21-22 February 2023 with expert sessions exploring our theme, ‘Feeding a Changing World’.

Feeding a changing world

We have two packed days of sessions at NFU Conference this year, featuring keynote speeches from industry leaders and political heavyweights. Have a look at the programme below to see how we'll be discussing the future of agriculture and horticulture.

#NFU23: Get involved on social media

Whether you are tuning into NFU Conference from the ICC, the tractor cab or the farm office, make sure you follow the conversation and have your say on social media. 
Whether you're joining from home or have a front row seat, share your views and experiences with fellow farmers and growers online by using the #NFU23 hashtag on your social media platforms, and tagging us in your posts.
We will be posting on Twitter (@NFUTweets) and Instagram (@NFULife) across the two days of NFU Conference so follow us and make sure you've turned your notifications on to stay up to date.

Day 1: Tuesday 21 February


Opening video

10:18 - 10:40

Opening address (Hall 1)

Minette Batters, President, National Farmers’ Union

10:40 - 10:45

Video address

The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Union, and Minister for the Civil Service

10:45 - 11:45

Political address (Hall 1)

Keynote - The Rt Hon Mark Spencer MP, Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Chaired by Minette Batters, NFU President

11:45 - 12:30

Delivering growth in a changing world (Hall 1)

Tom Bradshaw, NFU Deputy President in conversation with Tony Danker, Director-General, CBI

12:30 - 14:00

Lunch (Hall 3)

14:00 - 14:35

Political address (Hall 1)

Keynote: The Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer MP, Leader of HM Official Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party

Chaired by Minette Batters, President, National Farmers’ Union

14:35 - 15:15

Food security in a changing world (Hall 1)

Keynote - Prof. Tim Benton, Research Director, Emerging Risks; Director, Environment and Society Programme, Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House

Chaired by Tom Bradshaw, Deputy President, National Farmers’ Union

15:15- 16:00

Break (Hall 3)

16:00 - 17:30

Commodity sessions


Question Time: Dairy in a changing world
(Hall 9)

An opening speech by the Dairy Board chair outlining the work of the dairy board over the past year will be followed by a panel discussion with leading figures from the dairy industry, which will explore a number of the challenges facing the dairy sector today. What impacts will the dairy market have on the sector in 2023? How do we get our story across to consumers? Where are the big opportunities for dairy globally? How do farmers and processors collaborate more?

All of these topics and more will be discussed by our panel in a ‘question time’ style debate, where audience members are encouraged to engage and ask questions.


Chaired by
Paul Tompkins, Dairy Board vice chair, National Farmers’ Union


Markets and margins, where might 2023 take us
(Hall 4)

This past year has been dominated by the unprecedented increase in our costs of production, combined with one of the driest summers on record. We have seen critical farm inputs of fertiliser, feed and fuel rise to unsustainable levels. Unfortunately, this inflationary pressure looks set to continue and will heap further pain on many businesses including those more energy reliant businesses further down the supply chain. With grocery and energy inflation we’re seeing consumer behaviour change and to manage their household budgets shoppers are trading down to cheaper proteins, buying less steaks and roasting joints in favour of mince and burgers, and to frozen over fresh, which risks eroding returns for producers. Therefore, we must continue to grow our export opportunities, placing a cut of meat or by-product into the most valuable market is crucial for our sector. This commodity session will explore the market dynamics in the retail and out of home market and where exports can drive value for British livestock producers.


Panel session to also include:

Chaired by
Richard Findlay, Livestock Board chair, National Farmers’ Union


Combinable crops
Linking policy to crop health opportunities
 (Hall 5)

The continued uncertainty about the future direction of domestic farm support, and myriad of challenges facing the arable sector is a concern to many farmers. As a result. the session will focus on the current opportunities for improving arable crop health, and how policy can help promote this, and overcome some of the barriers growers face. It will cover a wide range of topics, from the grower toolkit, innovation and gene editing, to nutrition, farm support and regulation.


Chaired by
Anthony Hopkins, chief combinable crops adviser, National Farmers’ Union


Horticulture and potatoes
Securing the future of the UK horticulture and potatoes industry: a strategy for stability, investment and growth (Hall 7)

With the government committing to developing a horticulture growth strategy, this interactive session will explore what is needed to stabilise the sector in the short term and deliver long term growth. You will take part in an interactive workshop on how to successfully prepare for contract negotiations and hear from the NFU’s policy experts on where the opportunities are to ensure the government’s strategy meets the sector’s ambitions.


Chaired by
Michael Barker, Farming industry journalist


Strengthening business resilience in the poultry sector (Hall 10)

At a time where poultry producers are facing some of the most challenging circumstances they have ever faced, it is crucial to ensure businesses are strengthened to allow them to be resilient in the future. In a changing world it isn’t always possible to predict what the challenges and opportunities may be but the speakers in this session will address their respective areas of expertise and discuss how they see the sector adapting as we move forwards.


Chaired by
Aimee Mahony, chief poultry adviser, National Farmers’ Union


Sugar Beet - What can gene editing do for us? (Hall 6)

What is gene editing? What opportunities could it present for the UK’s sugar beet sector? And what would this all mean for growers on farm? This year’s NFU Sugar Conference breakout session will explore the opportunities to the sector presented by gene editing and the implications for business resilience. Attend this session to learn how gene editing can offer solutions to the challenges facing the sector in relation to productivity, environmental footprint, pests and diseases.


Chaired by
Dr Zoe Leach, East Anglia Regional Director, National Farmers’ Union

18:45 - 19.15

Doors open for dinner (Hall 3)


Regional ‘Meurig Raymond’ awards

19:45 - late


With after dinner speaker

Day 2: Wednesday 22 February


Opening video

08:48 - 09:50

Building business resilience (Hall 1)

Ash Amirahmadi OBE, Managing Director, Arla Foods UK
Assad Malic, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer, Greene King

Chaired by Tom Bradshaw, Deputy President, National Farmers’ Union

09:50 - 10:30

Political address (Hall 1)

Keynote: The Rt Hon Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Subject to change)

Chaired by Minette Batters, President, National Farmers’ Union

10:30 - 11:15


11:15 - 11:25

Sector resilience plans (Hall 1)
Introduced by Tom Bradshaw, Deputy President, National Farmers’ Union

11:25 - 12:30

Climate-friendly farming (Hall 1)

Chaired by David Exwood, Vice President, National Farmers’ Union

12:30 - 12:50

Closing address (Hall 1)

Minette Batters, President, National Farmers’ Union

12:50 - 14:00

Lunch (Hall 3)


Annual General Meeting (Hall 1 – members only)