Speakers

Speakers

Taking place on 18 November 2021, this year’s conference will be split into three sessions exploring the key factors and opportunities affecting UK agriculture in the coming years.


Session 1 | Decision Makers

Our first session welcomes our decision-makers, industry leaders and policymakers to discuss the main topics surrounding the agricultural sector.


Lord Benyon

The Rt Hon Lord Benyon was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 13 May 2021. He was Conservative MP for Newbury from May 2005 to November 2019. Lord Benyon was educated at Bradfield College and the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. Following a career in the army, where he served with the Royal Green Jackets from 1980 to 1985, Lord Benyon qualified as a chartered surveyor and ran a business that included farming, forestry and the management of rural and urban housing.


Lord Deben

The Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, set up and now runs Sancroft, a Corporate Responsibility consultancy working with blue-chip companies around the world on environmental, social and ethical issues. Lord Deben is Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, Valpak Limited, and the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advisers Association. He was the longest-serving Secretary of State for the Environment the UK has ever had (1993-97). His sixteen years of top-level ministerial experience also include Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, Minister for London, Employment Minister and Paymaster General in HM Treasury. He has consistently championed an identity between environmental concerns and business sense.


Professor Tim Lang

Tim Lang has been Professor of Food Policy at City University London’s Centre for Food Policy since 2002. He founded the Centre in 1994. After a PhD in social psychology at Leeds University, he became a hill farmer in the 1970s in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire which shifted his attention to food policy, where it has been ever since. For years, he’s engaged in academic and public research and debate about its direction, locally to globally. His abiding interest is how policy addresses the mixed challenge of being food for the environment, health, social justice, and citizens. What is a good food system? How is ours measured and measuring up? His current research interests are (a) sustainable diets, (b) the meaning of modern food security and (c) the implications of Brexit for the food system.


Session 2 | Skills Masterclass

For our second session, we are thrilled to be joined by a leading negotiation professional, helping our delegates to improve and develop their negotiation skills and reduce costs in future business deals.

Richard Savage

Richard’s an entrepreneur who’s been in business and navigating commercial conflict since the age of 17. In the last 30 years, he has advised corporates and created and led multiple SME organisations. He has specialist experience in retail, commercial strategy and brand development and has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands. He is a qualified business coach and has trained over 1500 people in the dark arts of negotiation in multiple markets around the world – from a gold mine in Ghana to the fastest-growing grocery retailer in the USA. He co-founded Savage Macbeth a specialist negotiation training, mentoring and coaching organisation in January 2021. His passion for food and its provenance has led to a lot of work with regenerative farming businesses helping to optimise their commercial return.


Session 3 | Costs Out, Cash In

Our final session explores stories of individuals of how they have approached innovative agricultural practices and succeeded at diversifying. This includes opportunities on how to cut your input costs (such as fertiliser and pesticides) and how you can capitalise on initiatives such as carbon credits.

Ben Gummer

Ben farms in Suffolk and is chairman and co-founder of Sward, which helps farmers and landowners understand, manage and market their natural capital assets. He is a partner in GummerLeathes, a master developer; a Senior Advisor at McKinsey & Company; a Board Member of the Office for Place; and a Visiting Fellow of Practice at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. He previously served in government as Minister for the Cabinet Office and in the departments of health, education and international development. Before entering parliament, where he represented Ipswich, Ben ran a sustainability consultancy advising multinational companies around the world.


Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell won the 2018 Soil farmer of The Year competition organised by Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit and Innovation for Agriculture. He started getting interested in soil and its biology twenty years ago and has been improving his heavy clay soils by stopping all tillage, making and applying highly biologically active compost and building mycorrhizal fungi populations. To prove the theory that a balanced soil food web can provide all the nutrients a crop needs, he hasn’t applied any phosphate or potash fertilisers in all that time and has started experimenting with cutting out nitrogen applications as well


Mark Dewes

The role of the agronomist is changing. I’ve been looking at the way we consider the economic and environmental sustainability of pesticide use. The way we measure and manage the use of products that have formed the backbone of the agronomist’s trade for decades should change before legislators decide we are taking too long to reform…..


Speakers for this year’s East of England Farming Conference will be announced on our Twitter page and updated on our website once the names have been released.