OF&G National Organic Combinable Crops 2020 - #NOCC20

Suffolk

7th July 2020

OF&G National Organic Combinable Crops 2020 is due to take place at John Pawsey’s Shimpling Park Farm in Suffolk on 7 July.

Organic champion John Pawsey (on Twitter as @hanslope) is a fourth-generation farmer based in Suffolk, where he tends 650 hectares of arable land and rears 500 New Zealand Romney sheep. John is also responsible for managing an additional 850 hectares for neighbouring farmers. All of the farms are managed organically.

For 2020 this annual farming conference will include discussions on cross-sector collaboration with a close look at no-till and no-till organic.

We will also feature particpatory research and current practice and future thinking for seed breeding using a range of strategies working with modern and older cereals.

We are very pleased to announce that respected broadcaster and journalist Charlotte Smith will again be chairing the NOCC discussion panel sessions.

Charlotte (who posts comment via Twitter @charlottebsmith) is very well known for her professionalism as an articulate food and farming broadcaster even in the midst of heavy weather as many of us who listen to her brilliant reports from the fields of the United Kingdom on BBC Radio 4's Farming Today.

And to help inform the discussions this year we will be bringing together members of the no-till community.

Prominent no-till farmer, farm contractor and publisher, Clive Bailye of TWB Farms and The Farming Forum will be joining us at Shimpling Park Farm. Clive can also be found on Twitter - @TWBFarms

And we will also be welcoming Farming George, also known as George Young. George is a zero-tillage mixed farmer from Essex, and he also can be found on Twitter - @FarmingGeorge and on Instagram @farminggeorge.

More details on guest speakers and on trial crops to be annoounced as planning progresses.

Booking in advance is essential. Delegate places can be booked via our google doc - NOCC20 booking form.

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NOCC is a collaborative enterprise with OF&G working alongside the AHDB, Cope Seeds, NIAB, the NFU, Organic Arable, the Organic Research Centre and Walnes Seeds.

This one day event takes three forms. The conference element with delegates seated in a barn converted for the day into a lecture theatre where they can see and hear presentations by key stakeholders.

The second element is the farm walk. Around 200 people attend OF&G NOCC each year and we take everyone round the farm to look at key aspects usually including soils, crops and other interesting areas of the host farm. Last year the walk took in talks on potatoes and pigs as part of the farm tour at Richard Thompson's York Grounds farm in Yorkshire.

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The third element that ties everything together is food. NOCC catering focuses on organic ingredients with many available from the UK and that are relevant to our audience with combinable crops and associate foods from the organic rotation.

The OF&G NOCC19 report is available online - Bred for organic

As an event NOCC has not only become a firm fixture in the farming calendar but also for the wider food business community. Grain traders and seed merchants all the way along to bakers and chefs, millers and retailers are all part of the largest organic farm event in the UK.

Booking in advance is essential. Delegate places can be booked via our google doc - NOCC20 booking form.

Payment can be made by calling the office with credit or debit card details. Alternatively arramngements can be made to accept payment by cheque or electronic bank transfer once the application form has been completed.

If you have any queries please contact Angela on 01939 291800 ext 222 or write to us via email info@ofgorganic.org.

Trade enquiries are very welcome, and some partnership opportunities are still available.

Please contact Steven Jacobs at the OF&G offices on 01939 291800 or download a booking form here.

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John Pawsey's crop rotation is detailed along with an organic and non-organic gross margin comparison in the OF&G arable technical guide which is available to download - TL128 Organic Arable Farming

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Here John, in his own words, talks about going organic -

Shimpling is an arable farm just outside Bury St Edmunds which has been in our family for over 100 years. Part of the farm is a former airfield built in 1943 on land bought by my maternal great grandfather in 1904, so there’s a lot of history here.

In 1999, I converted the farm to organic production because I was concerned about overworked soils and diminishing biodiversity.

How was the process of getting certified?

Exciting and educational! The process takes you through the whole ethos of organic farming. Don’t be scared of certification – it’s part of the learning curve. If you’re doing it for the right reasons, it’s common sense, and why wouldn’t you want to do it?

What are the challenges of becoming organic?

Fertility and weed control are the major challenges.

We’ve made lots of changes in the last five years to make our system more robust, every aspect of it, from fertility to rotations to marketing. We have a more robust farming system as a result and it’s obviously working because I can sell it. We are converting more farmers to organic than ever before and they have more confidence in what we are doing.

I feel very positive for the future – I think the market is growing and I think we are going to be ahead of the curve.

How has being certified organic benefitted you?

First and foremost, it has significantly improved the health of the soil – meaning we will leave it in good condition for future generations and have a positive effect on biodiversity.

Secondly, it gives me a price premium. As well as benefiting the land, we quickly found that farming organically meant we were better off financially.

The other thing that’s been fantastic is the connection with the market. With conventional farming, I had no idea what was happening to our grains. I had no idea if it was going to end up in this country, feeding pigs or people. But we now know where every grain goes, and what product it goes in to, so that connection to the market for me is a real bonus.

The above is taken from the OF&G series of Case Studies -

https://ofgorganic.org/case-studies/being-certified-organic-has-benefitted-our-land-and-our-finances

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John Pawsey's crop rotation is covered in detail along with a gross margin comparison of his farm business from before he converted to organic through to the present day.

The OF&G arable technical guide is available to download - TL128 Organic Arable Farming

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The OF&G NOCC19 report is available online - Bred for organic