5th July 2022
First held in 2008, this year will be the 15th annual OF&G conference.
The NOCC, as it has become known, attracts a broad cross-section of delegates from across food and farming sectors and from all over the UK and beyond.
NOCC is the on-farm conference for all those interested in food and farming within an agro-ecological approach.
For 2022 our theme reflects the dominant agri-food conversation today:
How can the UK support viable food and farming businesses that are producing food, reducing harm to the environment and delivering public goods -
We are very pleased to announce that this year we will be hosted by farmer, naturalist and OF&G licensee, Henry Edmunds at his farm in Wiltshire.
The 1,000 hectare Cholderton Estate has been under organic certification with Organic Farmers & Growers CIC for twenty-one years.
The farm has been the subject of a number of reports, most recently the farm has been the subject of a Natural Capital accounting exercise run as part of Defra’s Environmental Land Management Tests and Trials Evidence Reports (June 2021).
The Cholderton Estate is owned and managed by farmer Henry Edmunds who is always happy to describe how his farm business demonstrates a successful nature-based approach to food production.
Image credit: Cholderton Estate
Among recent visitors the current Secretary of State for food and farming, George Eustice came to look around.
Mr Eustice found the Cholderton case study of such great interest that he returned for a second visit.
The Cholderton Estate has featured in many press reports over the years. Most recently, in December 2021, Henry Edmunds and the Cholderton Estate featured in a Farmers Weekly report:
Why a climate-positive farm shows value of natural capital.
A Natural Capital audit was conducted at Cholderton Estate by Economics for the Environment Consultancy Ltd (eftec) as part of a Defra Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme Test and Trial project.
The purpose was to demonstrate how natural capital accounting can be used to establish a baseline for natural capital extent, condition and benefits, and measure changes from that baseline through implementing a Land Management Plan (LMP) which can be (co)funded by Defra.
The final report, which was delivered in August 2021, applies natural capital accounting to two farms in the chalk soils of Hampshire and Wiltshire.
Below here you can read a brief summary with the full report available to download.
The account shows that the Estate produces public and private benefits in excess of the Basic Payment Scheme & Agri-Environment Scheme income it receives but without that payment private income would not be sufficient for a sustainable business in the baseline case and would be around break-even in the future LMP case (Land Management Plan).
Biodiversity is a very significant benefit at Cholderton but difficult to link to provision of private and public benefits and evaluate in monetary terms.
The diversity of species at Cholderton is unique, “The range of species recorded on Cholderton is quite remarkable. Mr Edmunds has records of 1500 species including many rare and declining ones, which have been verified by the various conservation bodies” (Cross, 2020).
The variety of plant and animal species is a key feature of the Estate, and it is this uniqueness that presents a particular challenge to valuation.
Henry and his farm feature in a blog written by Merrick Denton-Thompson OBE and published on Defra's Future Farming pages.
Image credit: Defra's Future Farming team
Farmer Henry Edmunds walking among sainfoin
Merrick decribes the farm's participation in Defra's Environmental Land Management Test & Trials aiming to develop a model land management plan 'based on the exemplary principles adopted by the estate'.
The Defra blog can be viewed online -
Tackling climate change and extinction - the farm that’s showing the way
The Cholderton Estate's Defra Test & Trial report is featured in the OF&G Manifesto: Championing organic within agricultural policy.
The day will be divided as usual between talks in the morning and the guided farm walk in the afternoon. The break between these two sections will be the renowned NOCC organic lunch.
The respected broadcaster Charlotte Smith, will take her regular place as NOCC conference convenor.
Charlotte will introduce the speakers and chair the discussions.
Food is at the heart of this one day event which begins with a light breakfast served from 08:30.
After the speaker presentations and panel discussion in the morning the highly regarded NOCC lunch will be served.
And then, following the farm walk, everybody will be welcome to return to the main site for a hot drink and a slice of cake before departing.
Food businesses local to the area are working together to build a fabulous British organic menu.
We look forward to welcoming farmers, millers, bakers, traders and academics, scientists and policymakers to Cholderton on Tuesday 5 July 2022.
Tickets are available only by booking in advance.
More details will be announced in the coming weeks and months.
Last year NOCC was hosted by John and Alice Pawsey at their Shimpling Park Farm in Suffolk.
We were joined by representatives from government, from industry including farmers, land agents and finance and from academic institutions.
The discussions were detailed and lively, and we even managed to dodge some very heavy downpours and get out for the NOCC farm walk.
Our NOCC21 report is available online: OF&G's National Organic Combinable Crops 2021 - Report.