Serving the Farming Industry across East Anglia for 35 Years
Experts and farmers prepare to plan best way forward for agriculture Autumn Farming Conference to focus on sustainability

Sustainability, water management and environmental schemes will be key topics at a major regional farming event next month.

Organised by regional accountancy firm Larking Gowen in conjunction with the Country Land and Business Association, the 2023 Autumn Farming Conference takes place on Tuesday, 10 October, at Wherstead Park, Ipswich.

The conference will demonstrate the direction of travel for the farming industry and how the requirements of the environment and food production can be mutually compatible, says Bruce Masson, the Larking Gowen partner behind the event.

Bruce Masson

 

Laurie Hill

 

Steven Rudd

Business advice

“The emphasis will be on delivering practical information and advice which delegates can use in their own businesses. Farmers are having to deal with extremely volatile input and output prices, making it incredibly difficult to plan or budget accurately.”
“The scale and speed of interest rate increases following 15 years of low, stable borrowing costs, together with Defra announcements on environmental schemes and how they’ll impact the taxation of farming businesses, are adding complexity to these challenges.
A top 40 accountancy firm, Larking Gowen has of the largest teams of agricultural specialists in the UK, it serves clients ranging from small family farms to large rural estates throughout East Anglia and beyond.
Mr Masson will be joined at the conference by fellow Larking Gowen partners Laurie Hill and Steven Rudd, head of the firm’s farms and landed estates division.

Farming roadmap

Conference speakers include farming experts who can provide insight into where we are as an industry, the headwinds and opportunities which exist for those who are correctly positioned, together with the future direction of travel.
Chaired by CLA East director Cath Crowther, the event will include presentations by Matt Ryan, head of farmer relationships at Oxbury; Henry Welham, partnership manager at Yagro; farmer and rural policy advisor Emily Norton; and entrepreneur Ian Evans.
The aim is to consider how change will impact the farming sector, address concerns and help farmers chart a roadmap for the future. Rather than a series of presentations, delegates will be encouraged to ask questions and share their experiences.”
Headline partners for the conference are Oxbury Bank and CLA Energy. Oxbury is the only UK bank dedicated to British agriculture. CLA Energy offers energy and water procurement services, free energy health checks and sieworks management.
The conference is supported by YAGRO, Integrity Asset Finance and Impact Services.

Making the most of water

In the light of last year’s extreme drought and the last major water infrastructure in England being some 30 years ago, water management and how to make best use of this increasingly precious resource will be a key focus at the conference.
A special session will be chaired by John Patrick of Sustainable Water Solutions, which provides a wide variety of integrated water treatment solutions which efficiently treat raw water, process waters and waste waters.
Mr Patrick will be joined by Andrew Marriott, CLA; Charlie MacNicol, of the Stody Estate; and Norfolk farmer Sarah Kerkham, who chairs the abstraction and irrigation co-operative Heronhill Water.
All proceeds from the event will be divided between two charities: YANA (You Are Not Alone), which provides mental health support for the farming community; and the Farm Safety Foundation, known by many as ‘Yellow Wellies’ charity.

The event on Tuesday 10 October will start at 9.15am and conclude at 4pm. For full details and tickets, please visit www.larking-gowen.co.uk/AFC

Conference speakers:

Cath Crowther, Conference Chair and CLA East director

Matt Ryan, head of farmer relationships, Oxbury Bank

Matt grew up on his family’s sheep and arable farm in the South Island of New Zealand and has always enjoyed the physical ‘hands on’ side of farming, especially the technical aspects of plant and animal health. After graduating from Lincoln University in New Zealand, he started his agricultural banking career in 2006 at ANZ Bank and Rabobank, progressing to managing client portfolios and agricultural banking teams, as well as offshore agricultural banking projects. Matt joined Oxbury in February 2020.
In addition to his banking career, Matt has run his own successful livestock farming business and remains an independent trustee of a family-owned sheep and beef farming enterprise. His hobbies include rugby union, cricket, running and skiing.

Henry Welham, partnership manager, Yagro

Brought up in the countryside, Henry gained a degree in agricultural business management at Newcastle University. He then joined crop protection manufacturer Certis UK where he gained his FACTS and BASIS qualifications.
Yagro exists to transform the food and farming industry through accessible, advanced data analytics. Founded in 2015, the firm joined the Frontier Agriculture group of companies in October 2021, although it remains independently managed. Henry joined Yagro as partnership manager in 2022. He says data enables growers and advisers to make better informed decisions on farming practises and use evidence-based decision making rather than relying on gut feel or what they did last year.

Emily Norton, farmer and rural advisor

Emily is a farmer and an independent rural policy advisor with an interest in natural capital influences on land, food and farming. She has worked with major institutional and private landowners and farmers across the UK.
Retained as a policy advisor to Savills, Emily lives and works on a 150-acre Norfolk farm. Her presentation will cover the evolution of environmental and sustainability policy as it impacts on our customers and supply chains.
She will examine what this might mean for farms navigating the choppy waters ahead. Should you sign up for the Sustainable Farming Incentive, where are the markets for nature-based solutions, and who will pay for your farm data?

Ian Evans , entrepreneur

A journalist who spent two decades working for regional, national, and international media, Ian and his wife Diane opened Copdock Hall, their Grade II-listed Elizabethan barn in the beautiful Suffolk countryside, in April 2015.
The couple oversaw the renovation of the barn to create and equip a modern venue which hosts weddings, exhibitions, and corporate events, as well as pop-up art exhibitions and charity fundraisers.
Ian and Diane also own Copdock Hall Vineyard on land facing Copdock Hall. Planted in 2013, it yielded its first harvest in 2015 and currently produces a rosé wine, a white wine blend called Foster’s Fate, a sparkling Tudor Rosé brut and gin.

Mr Patrick will be joined by Andrew Marriott, of the Country Land and Business Association; Charlie MacNicol, of the Stody Estate; and Norfolk farmer Sarah Kerkham, who chairs the abstraction and irrigation co-operative Heronhill Water.

All proceeds from the event will be divided between two charities: YANA (You Are Not Alone), which provides mental health support for the farming community; and the Farm Safety Foundation, known by many as ‘Yellow Wellies’ charity, which campaigns for safe working practices on farms.