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Stackyard News Nov 09

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Community Partnerships are the Key for British Farmers

Communicating with the non-farming public, improving liaison with the younger generation and forging solid partnerships between farmers, suppliers, retailers and customers, is the key to keeping British agriculture alive and kicking!

Farming Conference

That’s the message from the Midlands-based Three Counties Agricultural Society (TCAS) - organizers of the region’s premier agricultural showcase, the Three Counties Show – which is staging its annual evening Farming Conference on Thursday 19 November.

The Society says that interest in British food and farming has never been stronger, in spite of the uncertainties and challenges that have become part and parcel of daily life in the industry, and that with a little guidance, farmers can capitalize on new and hitherto unexplored opportunities to boost business.

‘Agriculture: The Lifeblood of Community’ is a chance for all those working in rural industry to learn how to do just that, with real examples and practical advice from two of the country’s most respected names in the field, Guy Smith and John Geldard.

Guy Smith comes from an award-winning farm on the Essex coast. He chairs the NFU Regional Board and the national NFU Communications Committee as well as the steering group for the Essex Schools Day. He is a keen advocate of improving the way British farmers promote themselves to the non-farming community, and has a Silver medal from the RASE for his work in raising the profile of agriculture.

He is also the author of the Food, Farm and Countryside booklet, which has been distributed to 300,000 non-farming recipients over the past six years, a recognized columnist, and he has a regular pod-cast on the FACE web site. He has two Nuffield scholarships and an honorary Doctorate from Essex University.

John Geldard is a livestock farmer, and the creator of the famous Plumgarths brand, setting up Plumgarths Hub, Plumgarths Farm Shop, Plumgarths Food Service and Lakelands Food Park, to market high quality branded local produce including beef and lamb direct from the Geldard family farm and from other local farms. In fact, Plumgarths was one of the first initiatives to receive Defra’s RES funding.

He has enjoyed an illustrious career, with many achievements, including the ASDA Award for Supply Chain Excellence for the ASDA Local Sourcing Initiative, and the 2007 Farmers Weekly Farmer Of The Year. He is the Chairman of AIMS and Vice Chairman of the National Sheep Association (northern region) and co-authored the research document ‘Supplying Local Food To Mainstream Customers’.

This year’s conference is chaired by Lord Apsley, Governor of the Royal Agricultural College, and TCAS President 2008, and once again, Countrywide is the principal sponsor with support from Andrew Grant, Clarke Roxburgh, CLA and Harrison Clark Solicitors, all of whom will have stands.

Other stands offering expert advice include Defra and the Federation of Small Businesses, and the TCAS information stand will also be open. Anthony Snell of Ross on Wye – winner of the Society’s prestigious Bear Pit Competition 2009, sponsored by Parkinson Wright – will be at the conference, talking to guests about his success following the win.

‘Agriculture – The Lifeblood of Community’ is a fund-raising event on behalf of TCAS (registered charity no: 511868), with proceeds directly benefiting TCAS Education. There is a £7.50 entrance charge to include a complimentary buffet, and the evening begins at 7pm.

Anyone wishing to reserve a place, should contact Sue Hodgson-Jones on 01684 584900 or by e-mail

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Three Counties Agricultural Society