Food, Farming and Land Convention to debate future of sustainable farming in NI

Conservation charity the RSPB NI is set to host a two-day conference to examine the future of sustainable farming and land management practices in Northern Ireland.

Inspired by the Oxford Real Farming Conference, the ‘Food, Farming and Land Convention’ is set to run on February 9 and 10.

Discussions on Tuesday will focus on the future of food systems while farming and land management will take centre stage on Wednesday, specifically looking at how these can deliver a more resilient future for Northern Ireland.

How do we achieve our vision for NI’s environment?

“The next 10 years will be critical in addressing some of the biggest challenges facing society today, with agriculture and land management playing a crucial role. But what is our vision for the future and how do we get there?” an RSPB spokesman said.

“Representing a breadth of insight and experience, the panel discusses the role of farming and land in securing a more profitable, inclusive and sustainable future for farmers, rural communities and the countryside in Northern Ireland.”

Speakers include RSPB NI’s head of policy and advocacy John Martin, as well as David Brown, Ulster Farmers Union; Kate Clifford, Rural Community Network; Will Fraser from the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission; Helen Keys from Queen’s University Belfast; and Michael Meharg from the Nature Friendly Farming Network.

The debate on Tuesday will be chaired by John Woods, Northern Ireland secretariat of the Food Farming and Countryside Commission.

Woods has a MSc in Social & Public Policy from Edinburgh University. He has used his policy and campaigning expertise in a variety of work including 10 years as Northern Ireland Director of Friends of the Earth for which he was named by the Independent on Sunday as one of the UK’s top 100 environmentalists.

He is currently providing the secretariat for the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission in Northern Ireland.