A major farming event has been announced to celebrate the opening of the exciting new AgriFood Centre at Plumpton College.

The inaugural South East Future of Farming event on Thursday 20 April is being organised by the College in partnership with the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and Virgin Money.

The keynote speakers and workshops at the event, which runs from 3pm until 7pm, will provide practical solutions for farmers and landowners with a focus on driving productivity and profitability in a sustainable way.

Jeremy Kerswell, Principal and CEO of Plumpton College, said: “Plumpton has a pivotal role to play in the future of our land-based industries, not only through our training of new entrants but in our work with existing farmers and landowners. 

“Our new AgriFood Centre has been built to be the hub the industry needs in the South East, a place where people can come together, share, learn and take away practical solutions for their own businesses. This inaugural event is the perfect launchpad, with a range of contributors all offering their own perspective on the future of British farming in these important times.”

A number of keynote speakers will be sharing their stories and bringing to life how they have invested in technology, regenerative practices and/or people to boost productivity in a sustainable way at an event that aims to show that British farmers can be global leaders.

The speakers and Q&A sessions will be followed by a number of workshops offering practical, evidence-based solutions, examining the impact of investment in tech on farm productivity and focusing on skills and people.

On arrival, attendees can sign up to two of the four workshops, which will be led by:

  • James and Emma Loder-Symonds – Nonington Farms
  • Ian Salmon – Plumpton College 
  • Professor Michael Lee – Harper Adams 
  • James Smith – Loddington Farm.

After the event there will be an opportunity for delegates to network and enjoy produce from the Plumpton Estate.

An important time for farming

CLA South East represents thousands of farmers, landowners and rural businesses across the region. Regional Director Tim Bamford said: “The CLA is delighted to be supporting this conference at such an important time for farming. 

“With the industry constantly evolving, we look forward to hearing from a diverse range of experts and case studies highlighting how we can farm sustainably for the long-term health of the environment and rural economy.”

With support from Virgin Money, the AgriFood Centre has been purpose-built to host and connect rural communities and businesses across the South East for training, education, networking and events. 

Brian Richardson, Head of UK Agriculture, Virgin Money said: “This is a turbulent time for the farming sector as support mechanisms change post-Brexit and the wider economy is dealing with record inflation levels. 

“It’s critical for all farmers to look at how their own businesses can adapt to remain successful in the future, and the conference and workshops will provide valuable insights on how to approach this. 

“Given the central role it plays in agriculture and rural business in the South of England, it is great that we have Plumpton College hosting this event and I very much look forward to taking part.”

The new AgriFood Centre at Plumpton College

The college has long been part of the South Downs landscape and local community. Originally established in 1926, the college began by offering agricultural courses. Today, it is the leader for land and environment education in the region and has grown to offer 19 different courses, ranging from 14+ education through to college-aged courses, apprenticeships, degree courses and adult education.

The college continues to invest in its estate and is proud to announce the opening of the AgriFood Centre, which highlights its commitment to the land and environment training and education facilities for the community across the South East.



Registration and refreshments


Welcome from Emily Norton, 

Head of Rural Research at Savills 


Keynote speaker: Martin Lines, 

Chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network


Amelia McLean, 

Hugh Lowe Farms Ltd


Brian Richardson, 

UK Head of Agriculture, Virgin Money


Susan Twining,
CLA Chief Land Use Policy Adviser


Panel Q&A hosted by Emily Norton


Workshops (see above)




Networking, food and drinks reception

Tickets for this event are free.
To book your place visit: www.tinyurl.com/3ztr4mmf

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