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First Rural Research Conference hosted at Harper Adams

Posted 4 May 2018

“This event allowed practice to benefit from current research and ensuring academic studies are subject to scrutiny and direction from the rural sector, resulting in some invaluable ideas and links for next steps from both camps.”

Rick Brunt delivering his keynote presentation

The first Rural Research Conference, organised by the Land Management team, has been held at Harper Adams University

The event aimed to bridge the gap between academics and practitioners.

Organiser and Harper Adams University Principal Lecturer Carrie de Silva said: “This event allowed practice to benefit from current research and ensuring academic studies are subject to scrutiny and direction from the rural sector, resulting in some invaluable ideas and links for next steps from both camps. It provided an excellent opportunity for those in the rural sector, in whatever role or aspect, to take time out to think about wider issues and speak with others in the industry."

Opening the conference, Vice-Chancellor Dr David Llewellyn said: “There’s something in the various contributions for everybody; from health and safety, to lessons learned from previous periods of inclement weather. For the farm tenancy arrangements, the legal issues sounding the concept of natural capital.

“Farming and land management, be it for food, energy production, environment or in support for other rural enterprises, supports a massive industry in terms of food production, and for that matter lies at the heart of thriving rural communities. It needs new insights to deal with the challenges ahead. That’s why this conference comes at a very important time and why the contributions of the speakers today are so welcome and we’re very grateful for them.”

The keynote speaker was Head of Agriculture for the Health and Safety Executive Rick Brunt. He presented findings of the recent ‘Safety and Attitudes to Risk’ research into farmers’ attitudes to health and safety. He called on everyone to reinforce the message of safe working methods on the farm, to help ensure the improvement in farm fatalities and serious injuries over the past year continues.

Other subjects covered were: the cutting-edge of the internet of things and smart control for energy savings and environmental benefits on farm; a longitudinal consideration of the impact of factors outside farmer control (be that the weather or Brexit) with lessons to build resilience; an update on compulsory purchase; the impact of Agricultural Property Relief on the investment value of farmland; a report of a doctoral study on agricultural valuer behaviour; a review of case law on negligent valuation; the legal framework on natural capital; the Worcestershire Farmsteads Project; and lessons from around the world on the use of short term agricultural tenancy agreements and the impact of tenancy length on land and business management.

Carrie added: “Delegates included representatives from many firms of surveyors along with local authorities and industry bodies, such as the CLA, and a number of postgraduate students.

“I’ve received some great feedback on the networking value of the day. It proved to be an invaluable forum for both experienced presenters and those new to research. I’m absolutely delighted with the quality of papers that have been submitted in conjunction with the conference.”

Many of the presentations were supported by papers which will be available on the Food and Farming Futures website

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