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Clarkson’s Farm’s Cheerful Charlie discusses ‘The Farm of the Future’ at the Warwickshire Rural Hub’s first major farmer conference

The future of farming has been highlighted at the Warwickshire Rural Hub’s inaugural major farming conference.

‘Preparing for the Farm of the Future: What Will It Look Like?’ was hosted at the University of Warwick’s Innovation Campus Stratford-upon-Avon this week (12th March), with speakers including ‘Cheerful Charlie’ from Clarkson’s Farm – the popular Amazon Prime series.

As the agricultural industry continues to evolve rapidly with advancements in technology, sustainability, and consumer demands, farmers and stakeholders came together to discuss the future of farming. The conference brought together leading experts, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to explore the challenges and opportunities in shaping the farm of tomorrow.

The event featured keynote presentations and networking opportunities for participants to exchange ideas and best practices. Attendees gained insights into key topics such as emerging technologies in agriculture, sustainable farming practices, market trends, and policy implications.

Due to the isolated nature of the farming industry, and the stress and pressures farmers experience, attendees also had the opportunity to have a health check from Parish Nurse Gillian Fenner.

One of the event's speakers, Charlie Ireland, Managing Partner of Ceres Rural and known for his appearance in the popular television series Clarkson's Farm, began the conference by discussing the current challenges facing the agricultural industry. He said “The fact is all farming businesses have been faced with huge volatility. We see hyperinflation in nitrogen and fuel and that’s also been seen in the price of commodities including grain. It makes business planning harder and the risk of farming a lot higher.”

Charlie’s talk was followed by presentations from:

- Jim Egan, Midlands Technical Adviser with Kings Crops and a specialist on agri-environmental schemes, greening and Government policy
- Professor Simon Pearson of the University of Lincoln, whose research interests in agri-technology include robotic systems, energy control, food safety and novel crop development
- Antony Pearce, Partner with Dudley Peverill Associates, farmer and specialist in farm diversification advice

Professor Rosemary Collier, a Director of Warwickshire Rural Hub and University of Warwick researcher, emphasised the importance of collaboration and knowledge exchange in addressing the challenges facing the agricultural industry, said: "Well over 100 delegates attended the Rural Hub’s Conference and there was a great buzz during the networking sessions and over lunch, demonstrating how much interest there is in the future of farming and associated businesses in our region. The Rural Hub is very well-placed to connect farmers with those developing innovative ideas and approaches that can be put into practice in the future, and the sustainable farming groups that the Hub supports in collaboration with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust are an excellent example.”

Speaker, Simon Pearson, Director of the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology said “I was delighted to attend and discuss the role of robotics and AI in agriculture with the Rural Hub. These technologies will be and already are transformational. They are likely to change the nature of work and drive economic as well as environmental productivity.”

The conference showcased cutting-edge research and innovations from experts in farming and agriculture from leading institutions, providing attendees with valuable insights and resources to navigate the changing landscape of agriculture.



Fri 15 Mar 2024, 10:45 | Tags: crop centre, crops, farming