Archive 2018

Northern Farming Conference 2018

The Northern Farming Conference 2018, now in its ninth year, took place on Wednesday 7 November 2018 at Hexham Auction Mart in Hexham.

This annual event is one of the most prestigious events in the north, attracting well over 200 farmers, industry experts and politicians to network, listen and question a super line up of speakers.

The event is renowned for its mix of formal and informal debate and has now cemented its position as the ‘go-to’ conference for the sector in the north.

Your farm, your future

The Northern Farming Conference aims to give farmers the opportunity to consider how best to progress and take control of their businesses over the next few years. Under the theme ‘Your farm, your future’, leading farmers and industry stakeholders from across the country examined what the future may hold for farmers and their plans for this, particularly in light of the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit.

2018 Speakers included

James Standen

James Standen is the Farms Director for Newcastle University Farms and also farms in partnership with his wife on a tenanted arable and livestock farm with a holiday let and fishing lakes. The farm is LEAF Marque certified and has a focus on environmental management.

In addition, James is also an appointee on the NFU Combinable Crops Board, a member of the Farm Management Board at Plumpton College, a council member of the Institute of Agricultural management, a Governor of Askham Bryan College and a director of their farming company.

James is a commercial farming manager and has led a number of restructuring projects on farms. He has a keen interest in sustainable farming, environmental management and co-operation among farmers. James has a BSc in Agriculture and a MSc in Agricultural Economics from Wye College he is also BASIS and FACTS qualified.

Robbie Moore

Robbie is a Nuffield Farming Scholar having been awarded the UK National Farmers Union Mutual Charitable Trust Award to study a topic entitled “addressing the perceived failings of short term land occupation”. Having recently travelled across the globe as part of his study topic, Robbie has interacted with farmers, the industry and governments to explore the opportunities for farmers linked to their availability of land.

Robbie grew up in Lincolnshire where his family farm just over 850 hectares of combinable crops. Joining George F White LLP in early 2009, Robbie qualified as a Chartered Surveyor and received fellowship of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV). Robbie specialises in landlord and tenant matters, valuation work and advising clients on infrastructure and utility based schemes. Earlier this year, Robbie set up his own rural surveying practice; Brockthorpe Consultancy Ltd with two other colleagues. He bases himself in Northumberland, but also acts for clients within the Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire region.

In May 2017, Robbie was elected to represent Alnwick, Northumberland as a Conservative County Councillor.

Robert Neill

Robert farms at Upper Nisbet farm in partnership with his wife, Jacqueline. They have two sons, Andrew (19) and Harry (16). They moved to Upper Nisbet in 2000 which is a tenanted farm on Lothian Estates. The farm has 320 suckler cows and 850 acres of cereals. Robert is currently chairman of AgriScot. In 2006 Robert won the Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year award and in 2017 he won the Mixed Farmer of the Year as well as Farmer of the Year.

Allan Buckwell

Emeritus Professor Allan Buckwell joined IEEP as a half-time Senior Fellow in 2012. Two-thirds of his career has been as an academic agricultural economist specialising in agricultural and rural policy. This involved fourteen years at Newcastle University and then from 1984-1999 as Professor of Agricultural Economics, Wye College University of London. During this period he specialised on teaching and research into all aspects of European rural policy dealing especially with the Common Agricultural Policy, trade issues, and technology and structural change in farming and its impacts.

He joined the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) as Policy Director in 2000.

Since then he has been involved in debates on how to balance the CAP as a policy for Food and Environmental Security. He chaired and authored a report on Public Goods from Private Land and worked a good deal on Climate Change, the threats and opportunities this poses to rural land managers and Green House Gas accounting from land-based businesses.

Neil Heseltine

Neil was born and brought up at Hill Top Farm, Malham in North Yorkshire where his grandparents moved in 1950. After working on several farms, and what can only be loosely described as ‘studying’ at Seale Hayne Agricultural College in Devon, he returned to work at home and on other local farms. He also had a spell selling animal feeds. The Foot and Mouth crisis in 2001 was the catalyst for Neil to start farming at home full time. In 2003, as part of a conservation grazing scheme he re-introduced 20 Belted Galloway cattle to join the Swaledale sheep flock. This proved to be a defining time for Neil in terms of ethos and mindset, as he sought more sustainable and environmentally friendly production methods. This resulted in cattle numbers increasing to a total of 110 to 120 and the number of Swaledale sheep reducing to 200.Neil and his partner Leigh are now Certified Suppliers of Pasture Beef and it is hoped that by drawing on the lessons learnt from the cattle enterprise they will soon achieve the same status with the sheep. Neil hopes to be able to spread the word in the Northern Uplands that the right breed of animal, in the right situation, is more than capable of producing high quality meat in a truly sustainable way.

Tom Hind

Tom Hind is Chief Strategy Officer at the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB). Funded by farmer levies, AHDB inspires, farmers, growers and the food industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Tom leads the organisation’s work on strategy, covering the organisation’s 6 sectors in order to identify where AHDB can deliver the most value through its work. He leads a team of over 60 directors and experts who provide specialist sector knowledge as well as insight and evidence on markets and economics to farmers, growers and the wider industry.

Tom spent over 15 years at the NFU England & Wales, working in a range of roles including Chief Dairy Adviser, Head of Economics and Corporate Affairs Director. He also spent some time leading the UK NFU’s lobbying efforts in Brussels.

Before joining AHDB Tom held the position of Agriculture Director at Tesco, working closely with colleagues and suppliers to shape the business’ agriculture strategy. Married to Sara, Tom was brought up on the outskirts of Sheffield working school holidays on his uncle’s livestock farm. He has also worked on a mixed dairy/arable farm in Normandy, France. Outside of work, Tom enjoys cycling, fishing and walking. He holds an honours degree in politics and French from Warwick University.

Neil Wilson

Neil joined HSBC as Head of Agriculture in 2016 and boasts a wealth of experience in agricultural banking and farming. Not only has Neil worked in the commercial banking industry for a number of years he is also an active partner in the family farming business. This allows for Neil to relate directly to the issues at the farm gate and his knowledge of agriculture, banking and global markets allows him to add significant value to any businesses he works with.

Download the 2018 presentations

Conference Chairman Andrew Robinson said:

"We are now more than two years on from the Brexit vote and the level of uncertainty over the effects this could have on the farming and rural industry continues. The conference gives a great opportunity to listen to the views of leading farmers and industry leaders on their opinions on how to steer a path through the uncertainty."

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