NFU24: See our 2024 NFU Conference programme

20 February 2024

A promotional image for the NFU's 2024 annual conference

The NFU's annual conference returns to the ICC in Birmingham on 20 and 21 February 2024 with expert sessions exploring our theme, ‘British Food: What plan for the future?’.

British Food: What plan for the future?

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.

Watch online

If you’re watching from home then you can access all the sessions via our livestream.

You’ll need your membership number/email to hand to access the livestream which will kick off from 10:15am on 20 February.

You’ll also be able to watch the sessions again online once Conference has ended.

#NFU24: 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 #NFU24 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 20 February


Opening video

10:18 - 10:45

Opening address (Hall 1)

Minette Batters, NFU President

10:45 - 11:35

Keynote political address (Hall 1)

Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Chaired by Minette Batters, NFU President

11:35 - 12:30

British food systems in the global context (Hall 1)

Jack Bobo, Director Food Systems Institute, University of Nottingham

Chaired by David Exwood, NFU Vice President

12:30 - 14:00

Lunch (Hall 3)

14:00 - 15:00

The future for British food (Hall 1)

Sarah Bradbury, CEO, Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD)

Professor Susan Jebb OBE, Chair, Food Standards Agency

Kate Nicholls OBE, Chief Executive, UK Hospitality

Chaired by Tom Bradshaw, NFU Deputy President

15:00 - 15:45

Farming and the Environment: the Regulator’s view

Alan Lovell, Chair, Environment Agency

Chaired by Minette Batters, NFU President

15:45 - 16:15


16:15 - 17:30

Commodity sessions


Shaping the future political landscape and creating a resilient future

Dairy producers have been through another tough year with poor farm gate prices dominating headlines. With the wider supply chain also under pressure, ensuring the long-term resilience, sustainability and success of dairy businesses has never been more important.  

The session will cover the NFU Dairy Board’s work to address the challenges and improve opportunities for the sector, including an overview of what to expect from the long-anticipated dairy contracts legislation, and how the NFU is lobbying to shape political priorities ahead of the general election. This will be followed by a Q&A panel session.

Chair: Verity Richards, Acting NFU Chief Dairy Adviser



What does sustainability look like for the red meat sector?

Sustainability has been the buzzword of the last few years, but what does it actually mean for beef and lamb? Does sustainability look different depending on where you are in the supply chain? And how can we showcase why British red meat is sustainable?

The livestock breakout session will try to answer these questions, while also allowing the audience to meet and pose questions to the newly elected regional livestock chairs.

Chair: John Royle, NFU Chief Livestock Adviser



Combinable crops
Discussing the challenges and opportunities for sustainable protein in UK agriculture

During this breakout session we will explore the intricate landscape of sustainable protein in UK agriculture, and how protein crops can play a greater role in crop rotations to deliver benefits to your farming system.

The expert panel and audience will engage in a thought-provoking discussion on the future of sustainable protein production and its potential impact on both the agricultural sector and environmental sustainability.

Chair: Luke Cox, NFU Senior Policy Specialist (Combinable Crops)



Horticulture and potatoes
Setting the political agenda for UK horticulture

With a general election looming, hear from NFU Horticulture & Potatoes board chairman, Martin Emmett, and NFU External Affairs Adviser, Emma Crosby, about the NFU’s priorities for a new government and how members can engage with MPs to harness their support.

Also, hear from Horticulture Crop Protection Ltd Chief Executive, Simon Conway, on its work to ensure growers continue to access the crop protection tools they need.

Chair: Lee Abbey, NFU Chief Horticulture and Potatoes Adviser



Setting the strategy that is fit for the future

It goes without saying that poultry producers have faced significant challenges in recent years. Whilst the NFU is dedicated to supporting members facing these challenges, we must also shape a vision for the policy landscape of tomorrow and beyond.

With a general election looming, this session will address what poultry meat and egg producers need to operate profitable, resilient, and sustainable businesses.

NFU Poultry Board chair James Mottershead will share the board’s priorities for future strategy and Professor Louise Manning will provide a personal perspective of the opportunities the poultry sector has to strengthen supply chains ensuring that they are fit for the future.

Chair: Aimee Mahony, NFU Chief Poultry Adviser



NFU Sugar
Delivering Net Zero in the Sugar Beet Sector

This year’s session will explore opportunities to unlock private finance to support growers on their journey towards net zero, ensuring that they are fairly rewarded for environmental services and emissions savings which they are able to deliver on farm.

The session will showcase a project which has commenced in collaboration with NFU Energy to incentivise delivery of environmental services in the UK beet sector.

Chair: Dr Zoe Leach OBE, NFU Regional Director (East)


18:45 - 19.15

Doors open for dinner (Hall 3)


Regional ‘Meurig Raymond’ awards

19:45 - late


With after dinner speaker

Day 2: Wednesday 21 February


Opening video

08:48 - 09:15

Keynote (Hall 1)

What the countryside thinks: the political landscape in Britain’s rural seats

Joe Twyman, Co-founder and director of the public opinion consultancy Deltapoll. Former Head of Political at YouGov (2000-18)

Chaired by Terry Jones, NFU Director General

09:15 - 10:30

Political session: Hustings (Hall 1)

The Rt Hon Mark Spencer MP, Minister of State for Farming, Fisheries and Food
Daniel Zeichner MP, Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Tim Farron MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Chaired by Sophy Ridge, Broadcast Journalist, Sky News

10:30 - 11:15


11:15 - 12:30

Political reaction: Views from the farm (NFU member panel)

Midlands: Philip Maddocks (Salad Crops)

South: Bridget Christensen (Poultry, dairy and arable) 

North: William Maughan (Arable, beef and poultry)

South: Luke Thomas (Sheep and beef)

NFU Cymru: Delyth Robinson (Dairy)

Chaired by Aled Jones, NFU Cymru President

12:30 - 12:50

Closing address (Hall 1)

Minette Batters, NFU President

12:50 - 14:00

Lunch (Hall 3)


Annual General Meeting (Hall 1 – members only)


Officeholder elections

This page was first published on 18 January 2024. It was updated on 20 February 2024.