The inaugural meeting of the East of England Agricultural Society Cultiv8 group took place on the 16th of February, on the showground. Approximately 80 young professionals from all aspects of the Agri-food industry attended on the evening , traveling from as far afield as Doncaster, Colchester, Coalville and Southwold.
William Haire from the East of England Agricultural Society welcomed everyone before well know Essex farmer Thomas Bradbury took to the floor to deliver his presentation titled “from farming to film at Fletchers Farm” Thomas gave the audience an overview of how his family farming business has evolved over the past 15 years, changing from a livestock farm to a contract farming business growing grass, combinable crops, an equestrian centre and solar pv panels.
In addition to the farming side of the presentation, Thomas talked about his Nuffield Farming Scholarship, sharing pictures and stories of his 11 week tour through New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, the USA and Germany. One of the key messages from the study is our dependence on soil and a lack of understanding of it and how to care for it. Thomas has since adopted several new practices to benefit the soils he manages whilst optimising output including cover cropping, slot seeding, minimal cultivations and other husbandry methods.
In 2013 Thomas was approached by the BBC to take part in their Harvest programme. He found this to be a great experience and a fantastic way to tell the story of farming and grain production in particular, encouraging everyone to make time to share the story of food and take part in activities like Open Farm weekend.
A good discussion followed with the audience coming up with a lot of questions and getting a good debate going in the room.
William Haire brought the evening to a close, explaining what Cultiv8 is and a brief summary of he groups plans for the future. Cultiv8 is the new membership group for young professionals in the Agri-food industry. Membership is open to under 40’s with interests in every aspect of the supply chain from research, primary production through to processing and retail as well as the allied industries .
For further information emai- Cultiv8@eastofengland.org.uk