Leading lights in British agriculture are expected to fiercely debate the topic of “what is holding back the next generation?” to an audience of over 250 farmers, landowners and agriculturalists from across the region.

“Challenged with feeding a growing population, the next generation of farmers will have to deal with ever increasing environmental restraints, growing social demands, the rise of social media and the immediacy of communications, relentless pressure from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), productivity challenges and price volatility, to name but a few. How we have farmed in the past, is not how we will need to farm in the future,” said Duncan Rawson, a Nuffield Scholar sponsored by the Society and this year’s Conference Organiser.

“The future will require a new type of farmer, one who is ready and capable to face the challenges ahead; farmers who are prepared to break the mould of tradition and embrace the new world. The question is where are these farmers and what is holding back the next generation?”

The Society is delighted to welcome back Charlotte Smith, BBC1’s ‘Countryfile’ and Radio 4’s ‘Farming Today’ presenter, who will chair the panel of speakers, who are highly regarded in the food and farming industry. First to speak is Tom Rawson, a second generation dairy farmer, who has travelled the world studying innovative farming systems, which has allowed him to develop his business in new and exciting ways. Amy Jackson, owner of a specialist communications business involved in running successful campaigns in the agricultural sector will join Tom on the panel.

The third speaker is second generation sheep farmer, Rob Hodgkins, who will be able to talk about the challenges he faced as he moved from a career in engineering back to his roots in farming and now operates a successful 600 strong sheep unit in Hertfordshire, whilst juggling studying for his PHD in Agriculture.

Doug Jackson, agribusiness director for Savills is the final speaker and will bring his knowledge and experience in providing strategic business advice covering sectors such as dairy, arable, livestock, fruit, food and poultry. As founder of the national Fresh Start Academy programme, which provides business and succession advice to people looking to establish and sustain a career in the industry and over 22 years active involvement with young farmers, Doug will add his insights into the next generation of farmers and farming.

Sitting in the middle of 150 acres, the South of England Showground is the ideal venue to host the Farming Conference, in partnership with South East Farmer magazine and sponsored by Mayo Wynne Baxter, Complete Land Management (CLM), Chavereys, Landmark Systems and Lloyds Bank.

The event is free for people with an interest in agriculture and related industries and includes refreshments, however it is essential to register your place through the farming conference page at www.seas.org.uk

South of England Farming Conference, Wednesday 18 November 2015, 6pm

South of England Showground, Ardingly, West Sussex, RH17 6TL

(Near Haywards Heath. Junction 10 off M23)