On the evening of Wednesday 24th January 2024, Kent County Agricultural Society brought together speakers from across the agricultural industry to discuss the key pressures impacting on food security in the UK.

Joined by farmers and businesses from across the agricultural sector, the event was an opportunity for industry professionals to gain further insight into the challenges currently facing food security and the measures being taken on three very different farms across the UK.

With supply chain issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, fertiliser shortages caused by the invasion of Ukraine, and rising input costs affecting prices on the shelf, food security is at the forefront of the minds of producers, politicians and the general public alike. Our presenters, each of whom has a different sector focus, discussed how they are mitigating these ongoing pressures and how we can collectively work towards better food security.

Lincolnshire arable farmer, Andrew Ward MBE, first made UK headlines when he founded the charity Forage Aid in 2013 to support some of the hardest hit farms across the UK during an unprecedented snowstorm. Since then, Forage Aid has continued to support farmers affected by severe weather, earning Andrew his MBE as well as Farmers Weekly’s Farming Champion of the Year award. Andrew’s hit YouTube account, Wardys Waffle, receives up to 30,000 views on his Farm Updates!

Joining us from Kent’s soft fruit industry, Marion Regan MBE is the Managing Director of Hugh Lowe Farms, a major supermarket supplier and the supplier of all of Wimbledon’s infamous strawberries! Hugh Lowe Farms and their associated businesses have been pioneers in both growing technologies and on-farm environmental initiatives for many years, earning Marion an MBE for services to the fruit industry in 2014.

Finally, Peter Greig, founder of online butchery and food delivery business Pipers Farm, has left his families intensive poultry farm in Kent in search of a new style of farming. After relocating to Devon with his wife, Pipers Farm was born! Peter and his family produce high-welfare, extensively reared meat from their herd of Red Ruby Devon cattle as well as sheep, pigs, free range poultry and game to supply to their online customers. Peter’s passion for high-quality and high-welfare food produced in harmony with nature have led to a new way of looking at both farming and business.

Speaking after the evening concluded, Nikki Dorkings, General Manager from the Kent County Agricultural Society, said:

“Now in its 3rd year, the success of the 2024 Kent Farming Conference on Food Security reaffirms the value of our ongoing commitment to addressing critical issues in agriculture. The increased attendance, positive feedback, engagement with expert speakers and networking opportunities, underscore the importance of creating a platform for knowledge-sharing and community-building within our agricultural society. Thank you to all who contributed to the success of this conference, we look forward to the continued growth and impact of these types of events in the years to come.”

The Kent Farming Conference 2024, a not-for-profit and free-to-attend event, was kindly sponsored by South East Farmer, Birketts LLP, Catesby Estates, Crawfords Group, South East Water, Agrii, Azets and the NFU Mutual Kent Agencies.

The Kent County Agricultural Society would like to thank the following for their generous sponsorship of the Kent Farming Conference 2024:

Birketts, Catesby Estates, South East Farmer, Crawfords Group, South East Water, NFU Mutual, Agrii, Azets.