OFC - EU Ag Commissioner Outlines Future Of CAP

UK - The highlight of the second and final day of the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) 2011 was the presentation by the EU Agriculture Commissioner on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), writes Jackie Linden, editor of TheCattleSite. In addition, invited speakers also discussed new technology and their experiences of setting up new farm enterprises.
calendar icon 7 January 2011
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The New Technology session opened the second day of the OFC, with three papers on the theme of maximising efficiency and minimising environmental impact. Professor John Boyer, E.I du Pont Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Delaware in the US discussed how technology can help overcome water scarcity, particularly for arable farming. 'Only clever science will yield crop results' was the theme taken by Bill Clark, Director of Broom's Barn, Rothampstead Research. Completing the session, Chris Warkup, director of Biosciences KTN, discussed the possibilities for future innovation in the livestock sector. All these papers aimed to contribute to achieve the goal of feeding a human population of nine billion by 2050 and the need to double global food production by 2030.

Next followed two Technology Case Studies. Chris Mack, Executive Chairman of the Fresca Group Ltd, explained how high-tech horticulture can set the tone for the future as he described the setting up in Kent of a vast salad vegetable enterprise under glass, Thanet Earth, which has been designed for a high degree of sustainability. Poultry farmer, David Speller, explained how he set up his broiler enterprise, mindful of bird welfare, the food chain and the environment.

The final conference session aimed to fulfill the final aim of the motto of this year's OFC – to inform, challenge and inspire – by covering the nitty-gritty of farm businesses on a practical level with three more case studies. All three demonstrate how adversity can be overcome. Local man, Charles Baker of R.C. Baker, explained how he succeeded in adapting his contracting business when it was hit hard by the decline in UK dairying. 'Managing change and making things happen' was the theme of the presentation by John Shropshire, OBE, the CEO of Shropshire Group, a vegetable and salad vegetable enterprise with operations in the UK, Spain and the Czech Republic. The final presentation in the session was given by Gregor Mackintosh, a young Scot who has successfully developed a market for cold-pressed rapeseed oil.

Last but by no means least, the Frank Parkinson Lecture was given by Dacian Ciolos, EU Agricuulture Commissioner, who spoke on the challenges and opportunities for European Agricultural Policy. He focused especially on the current reform of the Common Agriculture Policy, which aims to support farming in the EU more effectively and, above all, with a greater degree of transparency for Europe's tax-payers in these difficult economic times.

Further Reading

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