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Key players to gather at national organic arable event

Date Published: 11/06/2008

Key players in the feed, seed and milling sectors are to gather at a national event aimed at attracting more converts to organic arable production, it has been revealed.

‘Contemplating Conversion’ has been organised by leading organic certifier, Organic Farmers & Growers, and Abacus Organic Associates, in a bid to make the benefits and realities of converting clear to farmers who are interested in the sector.

Buyers from high profile organisations, including Rank Hovis and BOCM Pauls are due to attend, with the aim of meeting potential converts.

Also present will be Dr Richard Stanley, of the Camden and Chorley Wood Food Research Association, part of the Better Organic Bread project.

Time is running out for delegates to register for the event, which will be held in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, on June 26, with June 15 the deadline for registration.

HGCA has also chosen the event to highlight it’s new ‘Arable Organic Farming: Conversion Options’ booklet, for which pre-orders will be taken on the day.

OF&G Chief Executive, Richard Jacobs, said: “There is a huge demand for more organic arable crops to be produced and the tremendous interest we’ve had from the industry only confirms that.

“The buyers are lining up to meet farmers who might be able to supply them and we’re sure that this will help to provide the confidence producers need to make the step into organics and the reap the benefits available.”

Already a number of big name companies have backed the event. To-date these include the HGCA, BOCM Pauls, ABP, Savills, Triodos Bank, Greenvale AP, Natural England and Norton Organic Grain.

Speakers and a panel-led discussion on the day will focus on the realities of organic conversion as well as the positive state of the market for organic crops and subsidy payments available.

Richard added: “For anyone even with a passing interest in what organic might have to offer them and their business, this day is going to be very enlightening. We don’t do the hard sell; this is about making information available on steps to conversion, payments available, the practicalities of farming in this way and long-term benefits.”

Confirmed speakers so far include: Andrew Charlton, Farmers Weekly columnist and organic arable farmer; Stephen Briggs of Abacus Organic Associates; Dr Debbie Sparkes, Assistant Professor in Agronomy at the University of Nottingham; Keith Preston, Agro-Business Advisor at Savills; Nigel Gossett, of Norton Organic Grain; Matt Heaton, Natural England.

An organic lunch will be provided, as well as refreshments throughout the day. The venue is Great Berwick Farm, Berwick, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Tickets are free, with an organic lunch available for a subsidised cost of £5, but should be booked in advance.

Contact Steven Jacobs, Development Officer, at OF&G for more information on 01743 440512 or email steven.jacobs@organicfarmers.org.uk.