NFU24: Minette Batters Anticipates NFU Conference Highlights and Challenges Ahead for British Food

NFU24: Minette Batters Anticipates NFU Conference Highlights and Challenges Ahead for British Food

In Brief:

  • NFU24 Anticipation: NFU President Minette Batters reflects on a transformative decade, navigating challenges from Brexit to COVID-19, setting the stage for the NFU Conference titled ‘British Food: What Plan for the Future?’
  • Key Expectations: The 2024 NFU Conference aims to scrutinize politicians’ plans for British food, emphasizing government action, global perspectives, and discussions on regulation and fair dealing in the agricultural sector.
  • Conference Dynamics: Two-day highlights include political keynotes, global context discussions, public opinion insights, and political hustings, culminating in farmer panels. NFU24 promises to be a pivotal event shaping the future of British food production.

As the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) eagerly approaches its annual conference, NFU President Minette Batters takes a reflective stance on a decade marked by unforeseen challenges and dynamic changes. In her comprehensive address, she provides a deeper preview of the upcoming NFU Conference, aptly titled ‘British Food: What Plan for the Future?’

A Decade Defined: Brexit, COVID-19, and Resilience in Agriculture

Minette Batters begins by reflecting on a decade of unanticipated challenges that have transformed the landscape of British agriculture. From the seismic impact of Brexit to the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agricultural sector has navigated an unpredictable and volatile path. Batters acknowledge the resilience demonstrated by farmers and growers in the face of these challenges, highlighting how such disruptions have underscored the critical importance of food production.

The Unpredictable Path and the Evolution of Agriculture

With a sense of disbelief, Batters notes how a decade as an NFU officeholder has seemingly passed in the blink of an eye. The events of the past ten years have not only made the jobs of farmers and growers more demanding but have also brought attention to the vital role of food production. The consequences of climate change, coupled with tragic armed conflicts, have further shaped the landscape, emphasizing that those in power can no longer take food production for granted.

Political Forecasts and the Agricultural Impact of 2024 Elections

Looking ahead, Batters sets the stage for what is expected to be a crucial year in 2024, marked by elections that hold significant ramifications for the agricultural sector. Elections, as farmers and growers well know, influence governmental approaches that profoundly impact livelihoods and food security. Against this backdrop, the 2024 NFU Conference aims to scrutinize the plans of politicians and regulators for the future of British food production.

Key Expectations for NFU24: Government’s Role and Global Perspectives

Batters outlines three crucial expectations for the 2024 NFU Conference, positioning it as a pivotal event in shaping the future of British food production:

  1. Government’s Role in Food Security: The conference kicks off with a political keynote on day one, providing insights into how the government plans to translate celebrations of food and farming into tangible policies. With a general election on the horizon, this session holds particular relevance, offering a glimpse into how the current leaders intend to turn rhetoric into government-wide action.
  2. Global Perspective on British Food: Highlighting the interconnected nature of the food industry, Conference Alumni Jack Bobo will provide a global context for British food production. In a discussion with NFU Vice President David Exwood, Bobo’s insights will delve into the intricate web of trade and seasonal production that extends beyond the borders of the UK.
  3. Focus on Regulation, Environment, and Fair Dealing: The conference will dedicate sessions to discussing the future of British food, featuring panels with representatives from the Food Standards Agency, UK Hospitality, and The Institute of Grocery Distribution. Additionally, discussions on regulation and the environment will feature insights from the Chair of the Environment Agency, Alan Lovell.

Day One Highlights: A Comprehensive Exploration

The first day of NFU24 promises a rich and diverse program, encompassing a political keynote, global perspectives on British food, discussions on the future of British food, and insights into regulation and the environment. The day concludes with traditional commodity breakout sessions, providing a platform for NFU members to engage with national boards and represent their interests to various stakeholders.

Day Two: Public Opinion, Political Hustings, and Farmer Perspectives

Day two of the conference opens with a session exploring public opinion on food, farming, and the environment through the lens of opinion polling. A conversation between Deltapoll Director Joe Twyman and NFU Director General Terry Jones will offer insights into the public’s attitudes, shaping discussions around the upcoming general election.

Keeping with the theme of electoral significance, according to NFU, Sky TV’s political anchor Sophy Ridge will then chair hustings with representatives from the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat parties. This provides a unique platform for these political figures to articulate their plans for the next Parliament, addressing critical issues such as funding commitments, the weight assigned to food production, and the potential impact on the relationship with the EU.

The conference will conclude with a farmer panel session, often considered the most encouraging and anticipated segment. Beyond personal stories, this session will provide a forum for farmers to share their reactions to the discussions throughout the NFU Conference 2024.

Conclusion: NFU Conference 2024: A Pinnacle in the Farming Calendar

Minette Batters expresses pride in the comprehensive program organized for NFU members, highlighting the importance of the event in the farming calendar. She encourages conference delegates to take advantage of meeting key sponsors and exhibitors present in Hall 3, emphasizing the opportunities for discussion and networking.

In anticipation of the NFU Conference 2024, it becomes evident that this event stands as a pinnacle in the farming calendar, promising an enlightening and thought-provoking experience for all participants. The carefully curated sessions, encompassing global perspectives, political insights, and farmer perspectives, underscore the significance of this gathering as a platform for shaping the future of British food production.

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