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National Organic Cereals 2010 – job done!

Date Published: 21/07/2010

With our third National Organic Cereals event behind us, it is with some relief we can look back at another successful day.

A packed marquee as Huw Bowles, of OMSCo, gives his presentation at National Organic Cereals 2010
A packed marquee

More than 220 delegates, exhibitors and speakers joined us for what proved to be another fascinating and very sociable occasion. The weather was even with us again, giving some dust-dampening drizzle early in the morning, then turning into warm sunshine for the bulk of the day.

Once again, the line-up of speakers proved to be very relevant and informative. John Pawsey told it like it is from the perspective of a large organic arable producer, which went down very well. He was followed by contributions from Huw Bowles, of OMSCo, who opened the eyes of many an arable farmer with figures highlighting the demand from his milk-producing members for the crops the arable folk could produce.

Stephen Briggs, of Abacus Organic, our partners in the venture, looked at that crucial part of organic farming, fertility management, while Ed Garner, of research firm Kantar Worldpanel, followed with an insight into what retail data tells us about how to market organic products and what the market is actually doing.

The farm walk at National Organic Cereals 2010
The farm walk was a sight to behold!

This year we had two farm walks; one to look at the standing crops being grown by our hosts, the Liddell family, followed by a second, after lunch, to take a close look at the more than 30 varieties of trial crops which had been planted especially for the day.

Roger Wyartt, of Organic Seed Producers, took delegates through this, with Harold Makant, of Natural England, explaining the agri-environment schemes Fullerton Farms are part of. If we learned something useful on the day it was that we need to give people more time with the trial crops. A packed schedule limited this slightly, so we’ll be looking at better ways of managing that next year.

Having said that, it was worth staying on target time-wise because the afternoon Q&A panel session was lively. BBC Countryfile presenter and farmer, Adam Henson, did us the honour of chairing that, having paid close attention to the issues throughout the rest of the day and did an excellent job.

BBC Countryfile presenter and farmer, Adam Henson, at National Organic Cereals 2010
Adam Henson chaired the afternoon Q&A

The catering once again left everyone thoroughly satisfied, with organic Hampshire lamb served for lunch this year and the now usual tea and cake in the afternoon.

The farm walks were, frankly, incredible and left me wondering if there was a Guinness World Record for the largest number of people on a farm walk…

All-in-all a very good day with bang-on-topic speakers, a great array of exhibitors, some really big kit (and some very clever kit) to ogle and plenty of chances to catch up with familiar faces.

So popular was NOC 10 we were in the unfortunate position of having to turn people away. We’re already doing the post mortem on the event and planning is heavily underway for next year, so do keep a look out for the announcement, perhaps just after Christmas, and get your booking in early if you want to come!

Finally we have to thank our sponsors and particularly our hosts, the Liddell Family, of Fullerton Farms Partnership, Andover.

You can see a full set of photos here.

Here’s our little video taster of the day, including a look at the crop trials and Adam Henson’s summary in the afternoon:

National Organic Cereals 2010