Biggest event for organic arable sector approaches

Date Published: 31/05/2012

The practicalities and economics of organic arable farming will be firmly under the spotlight at the biggest one-day event dedicated to the sector.

Surveying the trial plots at National Organic Cereals 2011
Surveying the trial plots at National Organic Cereals 2011

National Organic Cereals 2012, on July 5, will give farmers a chance to hear from the experts on issues ranging from CAP reform to organic farm income and fertility building, as well as allowing them to get into the fields to examine the results of extensive crop trials.

Now in its fifth year, the event has become a popular fixture in the organic farming calendar, bringing together producers, millers, buyers, seed companies, researchers and more from across the sector to share expertise, experience and market data.

Well-known BBC Radio 4 presenter, Charlotte Smith, of the station’s Farming Today programme, will be hosting the day’s presentations, including the chance for a question and answer session with the panelists.

Having been held at a variety of locations around the country, National Organic Cereals will this year move to the south west for the first time, being hosted by mother and son, Sarah Worrall and Jimi Collis, at Launceston Farm, Blandford, Dorset.

The event is the product of a partnership between control body, Organic Farmers & Growers, and consultancy firm, Abacus Organic Services Ltd. It was launched in 2008 in a bid to highlight the opportunities in organic cereals to farmers, with a “warts and all” look at both the rewards and the challenges involved.

Chief Executive of Organic Farmers & Growers, Richard Jacobs, said: “Every year when we hold this event the landscape for organics is a little bit different. Research continues to inform organic farmers, not least regarding the varieties of crops available and our knowledge of them, plus the markets continue to move, so it’s a great opportunity for farmers to stay up-to-date.

“It has also become an annual opportunity for those across the sector to get together over an organic lunch and catch-up with each other or make new contacts. There really is no other opportunity like this in the calendar for organic producers.”

Key names in food and farming have added their support for the event, with this year’s sponsors including Waitrose, Rude Health, SAI Global, Robin Appel Ltd, Organic Arable, Natural England, Pearce Seeds and The Farm Consultancy Group.

A wide array of trade stands will also be a key feature of the day and farmers in England may be eligible for 50 per cent funding towards the £30 cost of a delegate ticket, with support from Duchy College Rural Business School, through the SW Skills Programme, a Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) initiative.

Due to the popularity of the event, delegate places are already filling fast, with forms available on the Organic Farmers & Growers website (http://ofng.me/noc12), by calling 01939 291800 or emailing arable@organicfarmers.org.uk.