The CLA View

12 February 2019

Ben Underwood

In recent weeks I have travelled right across the CLA East region meeting members and speaking at a range of industry events. As you would expect, the subject of Brexit has been a dominant talking point. Last week I attended the Sentry Farming Conference, an excellent event with a fascinating line-up of speakers showcasing a range of businesses that have been successful through applying a positive mindset, innovation and recognising opportunity.

It was interesting to hear Mark Buckingham, corporate engagement lead at Bayer CropScience discussing the future role of plant breeding, including the developments in gene editing. The adoption of gene editing methods is all too often conflated with the debate on GM, but the two are very different. Granted, a director of Bayer is fully expected to extol the virtues of adopting such techniques, however it is clear that the potential enhancements in disease resistance, nutritional value and yield that can be achieved could play a crucial role in ensuring a sustainable world food supply. There is a potential there for Britain, our scientists and our farmers to lead the way.

In other news, the topic of veganism has continued to stir heated debate in the media and the CLA attended a livestock summit recently with a wide range of stakeholders across the farming sector. The aim of the meeting was to share ideas, knowledge and experience as to how best to promote and support the diverse livestock sector we have in the UK and ensure the high standards of health and welfare UK farmers operate to is well known. We are aware of a number of campaigns that are unsupportive of livestock production and it is an issue we are continuing to monitor closely. Keep an eye on forthcoming Land and Business editions for further information.

Finally, I encourage you to take a look at our latest CLA East events coming up this spring. We have a range of technical seminars and social events taking place which are always a good way to increase knowledge and network with other CLA members. You can see all CLA events by clicking here.