This conference set out and debated the opportunities and consequences for farmers in a post-Brexit environment.
Throughout the programme, we explored how we can design food systems which are profitable for farmers, whilst at the same time enhancing the environment and public health. We also discussed growing consumer demand for local, traceable food and how all farmers can adapt to keep up with this market.
Over the course of two days, we explored the following themes:
Public Money for Public Goods – How will the Government create ‘carrot and stick’ polices to reward farmers for doing the right thing? How will this accelerate the changes that are needed to create more sustainable farming systems with better environmental and health outcomes?
Measuring Public Goods – Are there clearer, simpler and more powerful metrics which could replace the current subsidy system and help determine eligibility for public purse support? The current process of field to fork involves multiple farm audits, overlapping certification schemes and a resulting mass consumer confusion about the best food to eat. How can we simplify the system, providing regulators with the information they need, encouraging continuous improvement and providing greater transparency in the market place?
Building Better Soil Through Farming Practice – Which methods of production have the potential to rebuild lost soil fertility, promote integrated nature conservation and create viable and profitable business models for producers? How could government measure such improvements and design incentives to help accelerate this change?
Delivering High Animal Welfare and Local Meat Through Small Abattoirs – How can we reverse the commoditisation and industrialisation of meat markets? Could more local slaughter facilities enable better marketing and shorter supply chains? Our speakers will explore these complex issues and assess the most recent research on whether on-farm slaughter is a viable option.
New Models for Local Food Systems – How can we design successful and profitable alternative retail systems which support the type of food and farming outlined in the government’s ‘Health and Harmony’ command paper? Exploring innovative models for reaching consumers which offer farmers greater opportunity and customers better quality and more local food.