Future of Suffolk food and farming focus at conference

THE FUTURE of the agriculture and food sector in Suffolk is to be discussed by industry leaders, local authorities and farmers at an agricultural conference being held at Trinity Park in Ipswich on Tuesday 5 February.

It is predicted that in order to meet demand global production will need to increase by 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050, whilst using less resources.

The conference will bring the agriculture and food sector together with the public sector to explore ways of developing the sector in Suffolk to meet such challenges.

Key topics up for discussion include:

Jobs and the Future Workforce

Water and Resources

Planning and Infrastructure

Market and Supply Chains

As well as workshops and panel sessions in which all attendees will have a chance to identify and discuss the main issues affecting the development of the sector, the event will also include presentations from high profile speakers. These include Vicky Ford (Member of the European Parliament) who will explain the relevance of the European debate on agriculture policy to the regional development of the industry. And John Taylor, a Suffolk farmer who will look at the ways challenges have been faced by the sector over the past 100 years and how the farming community is addressing the challenges of the present day.

Councillor Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for economy and skills, said: “The success and growth of the county’s agricultural sector is vital not only to Suffolk but to the rest of the country. With both Suffolk and Norfolk combined producing nearly half of England’s sugar beet, turkeys and ducks, a quarter of all pigs and geese, and a fifth of the potatoes, vegetables, salads and peas, it is a sector that simply cannot be forgotten. A thriving agricultural and food sector in Suffolk can also help to rebalance the economy and deliver growth to the county.”

Chris Bushby, Executive Director of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, said: “A number of challenges lie ahead, including filling the skills gap, the effect of climate change on crops, and exploring how to increase crop yield whilst protecting the land. However here in Suffolk we are well placed to face head on these difficulties. We have a good climate, large markets, a dynamic food processing sector and a world class knowledge base.

“This conference will bring Suffolk’s agricultural leaders together to help us capitalise on opportunities to guarantee a strong future for the sector in Suffolk.”

To find out more about the conference or to book a place please contact/ visit: http://suffolkfoodagriculture.eventbrite.co.uk/