After nearly two years as a Student & Young Farmer Ambassador for the NFU, Joe Bramall has finally made it to an in person NFU conference, and he tells us why it was worth the wait.
"Our newly reelected NFU President, Minette Batters, kicked of #NFU22 with her thought-provoking opening address. The day then carried on with some brilliant talks and discussion sessions.
Sir David Ramsden, from the Bank of England, was the first speaker and he said that the agri-food sector made up 6.5% of our GDP which showed me the importance of our sector to the wider economy. He also cited the importance of agri-tech in improving productivity on farm. George Eustice was next to the stage and announced a much welcome increase in the funding in the farming equipment and technology fund. He was also grilled on what he more he could’ve done to help alleviate the current pig crisis. Britain’s food security was the next topic, and I was lucky enough to ask a question on whether the increasing dependence upon AI and robotics poses a food security rise by inviting cyber-attacks.
I then joined the Dairy session in which future opportunities for the UK dairy sector were discussed. There is an ambition to double the value of British dairy exports in the next 10 years, posing some huge opportunity. Day 2 brought with it Dr Theo De Jager, the President of the World Farmers Organisation. He discussed the importance of linking up markets and how unprofitable farming isn’t sustainable.
There was a lot to take away from conference, but I have thought about key takeaways for me. First would have to be the importance of public procurement in leading the way in securing sustainable, British food. British farming needs wider government support not only support from DEFRA and the importance of economic models to support tenants.
Of course, I couldn’t write about conference without talking about the networking opportunities, the brilliant dinner and after dinner speaker and the ‘walkabout’ night out after day 1 in which was great to not only spend time with our current ambassadors but also the NFU’s Team Cheshire of which I am a proud member of.
If this has persuaded you to get to conference next year why not apply to be an NFU Student and Young Farmer member to get started!"