The Kent Farming Conference, which took place on the evening of 26 January 2022 at the Kent Event Centre, was attended by over 65 delegates in person, with a further 25 streaming it online as part of a hybrid event.
Attended by farmers, growers, agriculturalists, and industry experts, the conference delved into the world of sustainable farming and highlighted best regenerative practices, focusing on preserving the natural ecology for future generations.
Hosted by Presenter and Producer of BBC Radio 4 & BBC Radio Kent, Anna Louise, keynote speakers included Andy Barr, John Pawsey and James Smith, who shared their personal experiences of using regenerative methods profitably on their own farms. A number of hot topics were discussed, including natural pest and disease control, organic fertilisers, no-till drilling systems, crop rotation and biodiversity.
Andy Barr, KCAS Director and Partner at A&A Barr Farms, used the conference to draw attention to the success he has achieved in increasing yields and net profit by 17%, through sustainable systems (direct drilling), compared to conventional methods (ploughing). John Pawsey had similar insights on his own farm in Suffolk, revealing that their sustainable farming practices had increased average profits by £210 per ha, and had reduced their carbon output so much that the land now acts as a carbon sink, opposed to a carbon emitter. James Smith from Loddington Farms discussed his methods of regenerative farming on his fruit farm enterprise, by taking away herbicides and using grass mulch for feeding nitrogen to his trees.
The audience also heard from Grace O’Dwyer, HSBC’s Regional Agricultural Director about investments in sustainable farming, and Katy O’Neill, Partnerships Director at RIFT R&D on how to achieve tax relief for research and development projects.
James Forknall, Chairman of the Kent County Agricultural Society was delighted with how well the first Kent Farming Conference went and said it was a great launchpad for future events of its kind.
“The Kent Farming Conference was very well received by all those who attended. We were really pleased to see such a great turnout for our first conference event, both in person and online.”
“I’d like to thank all the speakers, sponsors and visitors who made this a special event. It’s been a wonderful way to kick off the year and we look forward to bringing the farming industry more events of this kind in the future.”
The Society is looking forward to holding its next event, Farm Expo, on 2nd March at Kent Showground, a machinery, supplies, and services show for the agricultural sector. Tickets for this free event can be found at www.kcas.org.uk/farm-expo/