Spring Conference 2013

Creating the Resilient Farm Business

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Sponsored by AtlasFram Group and Mills & Reeve LLP


Managing a farming business in a global climate of uncertainty and volatility is a massive challenge. The need to create a business that is more resilient to fluctuations in price and changes in consumer demands is key for long term success. This conference examines the ways farming businesses can meet these challenges with practical advice and first hand experiences and success stories.

12.45pm – Registration and buffet lunch

1.50pmChairmanJames Forrest, Suffolk Farmer

James left Writtle College in 1993 and joined the family farming partnership in 1995, taking over the running of the farm in 2008.  In addition to the home farm based at Stonham Aspal, the partnership undertakes contract farming in the locality and was an early adopter of GPS technology.  James is a current trustee of the Felix Thornley Cobbold Trust and a past County Chairman of Suffolk YFC and Director of Framlingham Farmers.

2.00pm – Chris Wilson, World First Foreign Exchange

‘The effects of the currency markets on a farming business’

Chris is from a farming background in the Scottish Borders and has had plenty of practical farming experience all around the UK.  He now works in the currency markets and is experienced in the foreign exchange process, specialising in the agricultural sector for the Partnerships Desk at World First.  He holds an honours degree from Oxford Brookes University.

2.20pm -  Ashley Gilman, AtlasFram's Group Business Manager

'Providing a comprehensive risk-management service for your farming business'

Ashley has a BSc from Wye College and an MSc in Advanced Farm Management from Royal Agricultural College.  He was a Velcourt Farm Manager for five years and then Farms Director for Maurice Crouch (Growers) Ltd in Norfolk for eight years, a 1500ha specialist salad, brassica and flower business supplying the major retailers and processors.  He then joined Anglia Farmers, after a year he joined the AtlasFram Group.

2.35pm – Richard Symes, Suffolk Farmer

‘Renewable energy on the farm’

Richard has been farming for 35 years and is a former director of Framlingham Farmers.  His 162 ha, predominately arable, includes woodland, an equestrian centre hosting livery, training and competitions and more recently a wind turbine. The farm is LEAF Marque certified and is in HLS.  He has a network of public access tracks and hosts educational visits.  Concerns over climate change have led him to develop a larger, more profitable business that is net carbon neutral.

2.50pm - Stuart Carpenter, Head of Procurement, ADM Direct

‘Achieving premiums in commodity markets - a move towards sustainability’

Stuart has spent all his career in agricultural merchanting and held a number of roles giving him a broad knowledge of farming and what makes farmers tick.  Having started ADM Direct in 2000, Stuart has remained as Head of Procurement and helped build the business to be among the UK’s top 10 grain procurement businesses.  He moved the business to a new office near Cambridge in 2009 and was instrumental in the recent successful joint Grain Marketing venture between ADM and AtlasFram Group.

3.10pm – Question and discussion with panel of speakers

3.25pm – Break

4.00pmAndrew Ward – Lincolnshire Farmer

‘The farmer’s view of the future of UK arable farming’

Andrew farms 730 ha growing wheat, spring malting barley, oil seed rape and sugar beet. He abandoned the plough in 2002 in favour of minimum tillage via the use of Simba equipment for all crops and soil types.  In 2008 he was awarded the Farmers Weekly, Arable Farmer of the Year title and in 2009 he launched his own consultancy service, WCS (Ward Cultivation Solutions), specialising in soil management, machinery choice, machinery and crop costs and fertiliser advice.

Andrew is actively involved in knowledge transfer and places huge importance on his contacts and partnerships in the industry and works very closely with Monsanto, Bayer, BASF, Syngenta, Growhow, Simba, Househam Sprayers, Agrii, Niab-Tag and the HGCA. Regular trials are carried out every year on behalf of these companies. In 2010 his farm became the Agrii Smart Farm demonstration site for Lincolnshire. He regularly lectures to and hosts foreign farmer visits on behalf of Simba with famers, consultants and agronomists from across the world.

4.25pmHarry Cotterell, President, CLA

‘Productivity and public goods - the changes ahead’

Harry owns and manages a traditional rural estate in Herefordshire.  The 650 ha farming operation is all “in hand”, except for potato lets, with principal land use remaining arable (wheat and oilseed rape), although new cider fruit orchards producing up to 10,000 tonnes of apples a year is now the main enterprise.

The strategy on the estate over the past 20 years has moved away from subsidised crops to supplying local markets.  The farm provides one million chickens per year and 11,500kg of mushrooms a week for a supermarket chain.

4.55pm – Question and discussion

5.40pm – Summing up by Justin Ripman, Partner, Mills & Reeve

SAA & AtlasFram Group Members  £35.00
Non SAA Members £40.00
Delegates under the age of 30 £30.00

For further information, please contact Hannah Woods on 01473 707118 or hannah.woods@suffolkshow.co.uk

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