March farm to host event

A FARM in March has been chosen to host the biggest event in the UK organic farming calendar.

National Organic Cereals 2011 will be held at Holm Select’s Whitegates Farm, on July 7, drawing farmers, feed and seed merchants, millers and industry leaders to the area from across the country for the largest dedicated organic farming event of the year.

BBC Radio 4 Farming Today presenter, Charlotte Smith, has been announced as the chair of a panel-based question and answer session on the day, which will also see delegates taking a tour of more than 40 varieties of trial crops which have been planted especially for the event.

National Organic Cereals this year has Waitrose as its headlines sponsor, and is aimed at sharing knowledge among those already in the organic cereals sector as well as giving those with an interest in converting the chance to understand the challenges and rewards of organic production.

This year will see the fourth annual running of the event, which is organised by Organic Farmers & Growers, one of the UK’s leading organic control bodies, which has its national headquarters near Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

Organic Farmers & Growers Chief Executive, Richard Jacobs, said: “Each year we move the event to a new location and we’re delighted that Clive Martin and his family and colleagues have made Whitegates Farm available to us.”

Mr Martin said: “National Organic Cereals has become a very important event for organic arable farmers and we were really pleased to be able to help by providing this year’s venue. There’s a lot of work involved but OF&G have put on very professional and informative events in the past and we expect this to be no exception.”

This year’s event will once again see presentations by industry specialists, a wide variety of trade stands and machinery on display, guided farm walks and refreshments throughout the day, including a hot organic lunch.

Mr Jacobs added: “The whole point of National Organic Cereals is to provide a forum for discussion and knowledge sharing. We’re not evangelical about organic farming; we want anyone with even a mild interest to be able to come along and learn more from their peers and from the experts and to have the chance to discuss issues with them.

“There is a strong demand for home-grown organic cereals and we need skilled and dedicated farmers to come on board and meet that demand.”

Booking forms are now available from the OF&G website (www.organicfarmers.org.uk) and opportunities for exhibitors and sponsors are still available.