Once again the team at Upton and Pershore NFU organised an excellent panel to discuss ‘How to be a Farmer and Park Keeper’ providing advice to the audience on making the best of opportunities to develop your rural business. The conference was attended by over 150 local farmers and rural professionals.

The first speaker of the evening was Adam Henson. Adam spoke about his entrance into the farming industry and about his Cotswold Farm Park, created by his father, Joe Henson in the 1970’s. The Farm Park is now run by Adam and his business partner Duncan and is heavily involved with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.  Adam told the audience the key ways he had expanded the park with new facilities and secured his tenancy of Bemborough Farm for another twenty years, which allows him to develop his current business further. Adam expressed how important having a strong brand identity is and how this has helped with the development of the Cotswold Farm Park.

Adam also emphasised the need for more education regarding food and agriculture, he passionately spoke about the importance of British schools introducing a GCSE in Agriculture, as many children and young adults still do not know about British produce and where their food comes from.

The second speaker of the evening was NFU Vice Chairman Stuart Roberts. Stuart spoke to the audience about the importance of food traceability and maintaining the high food and welfare standards that we have in the UK. Stuart explained that although the UK has some of the highest standards for welfare and production, the percentage of income spent on food is decreasing, suggesting farmers should explore niche, smaller markets for their products, rather than competing with imported goods.

Last to speak was Natural England’s Head of Agriculture Geoff Sansome. Geoff explained to us the future of farm subsidies and environmental payments in the UK. Geoff also touched on the importance of education and the participation of local farmers in new initiatives like ‘Facetime a Farmer’, allowing local children to be shown farming activities from their classroom. Geoff highlighted the importance of assurance schemes like Red Tractor and Pasture for Life for British Farmers as these help promote and ensure quality produce.

All panel members spoke of the fundamental importance for farmers to connect with their market and to thoughtfully respond to any ‘fake news’ regarding welfare and standards in the UK. British farmers and park keepers need to tell ‘their story’ as regards to farming practices, their welfare standards and environmental conservation, in order to engage with the public and to ensure British Agriculture has support so that it can adapt for changes to come.

The evening was then concluded with questions from the floor hosted by the conference Chairman Clive Davies, sparking interesting debate on the topics covered.

Carver Knowles were delighted to work alongside Crowthers Accountants and Shakespeare Martineau solicitors sponsoring this event.

 If the event has inspired you to make changes within your business then please do not hesitate to get in touch either on 01684 853400 or by emailing enquiries@carverknowles.co.uk to see how we can help.