Re-Building British Farming

25 April 2024 | 12.00pm

US Agriculture Farming

How do we avoid doomsday for British farming?

Dr Richard Byrne of Harper Adams shares his research on agricultural policy design in England, and whether it is fit for purpose in the future faced by the UK. It models two scenarios which imply that prices will need to rise to maintain supply and diversity of sourcing or we pivot to a US model of lower welfare and less choice in the food supply, and as a result, trading that for a different kind of agri-landscape. 

Dr Byrne is joined by business and political speakers to debate the agricultural and land management policies we need to fix the food system and enjoy a food secure future. 

With an opportunity to put questions to the panel about the issues which loom large in your business or farm.

The Speakers

Dr. Richard Byrne Dip. H.E., BSc.,MSc.,PhD.,FHEA, CGEOG, NSch.

Dr. Richard Byrne Dip. H.E., BSc.,MSc.,PhD.,FHEA, CGEOG, NSch.

Senior Lecturer, Harper Adams

Richard has over 25 years of Pracademic (Practical Academic) experience in land management and food security. With colleagues drawn from across the University and Ph.D. researchers, he manages the Rural Resilience Research Group (3RG) which focuses on stressors in the rural environment such as climate change,  farm crime, and modern slavery in agricultural systems both in the UK and overseas. 

Richard’s teaching is focused on agricultural policy,  global food commodities trade, and their relationship to geopolitics and climate change. He has a particular interest in agricultural policy and climate adaptation and the Black Sea grain trade. In addition to teaching and research, he currently advises a number of Government departments, commercial organisations, and NGOs on the interface of food security, climate change, and conflict. 

During his career he has worked in a variety of challenging environments from Afghanistan to Zambia. In the last 15 years, he has been very much involved in advancing the field of Stabilisation Agriculture, and developing integrated livelihood solutions in countries affected by or emerging from conflict to promote food security and economic growth. As a result of this work, he has increasingly been involved in projects relating to Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (MSHT), particularly in agricultural and rural settings. He is currently working in the Human Security space on climate change impacts on food security and its relationship to conflict and human exploitation.


Allie Renison

Allie Renison

Associate Director, SEC Newgate UK

Allie is an expert in trade policy has a wealth of experience across both policy and public affairs advocacy during 15 years of working in both Westminster, Whitehall and across the UK to promote trade and business development.

She began her career as an adviser to a number of parliamentarians before moving on to lead research and communications at several business-focused campaigns in Westminster. After being tapped to head up trade and international at the Institute of Directors, she led the IoD through Brexit regularly appearing on both local and national media platforms to advocate for IoD priorities.

Allie spent the last three years on a government appointment at the Department for Business and Trade. Most recently she was a direct adviser to the Secretary of State, and joined SEC Newgate UK to expand the firm’s international trade and investment practice.

Olly Harrison

Olly Harrison

Farmer, Entrepreneur and Blogger

Farmer and entrepreneur Olly Harrison is the face behind popular YouTube channel @OllyBlogsAgricontractfarmer. The daily videos, which he started in lockdown, provide a glimpse into the real-world challenges and triumphs of farming, marked by a touch of humour and diversification tales to fund his machinery and tractor addiction!

Olly’s online presence reaches over 350,000 across his social channels, 110,000 of which are on YouTube. His 1500+ videos have been watched over 77 million times, where he shares insights, experiences, and challenges faced in the agricultural industry. His content resonates with both farming enthusiasts and those curious about the intricacies of rural life. Never afraid to speak out about the industry, he achieved the DLG accolade of ‘International Agricultural Influencer for YouTube’ and was recognised as an NFU Community Farming Hero. His ability to explain the complexities of farming in straightforward language has made him a regular contributor across BBC channels, including BBC News and BBC Radio 4.

The farming business in 2024 has 14 different income streams, from ‘dog walking fields’, to chipping wood for biomass, to a merchandise operation that grossed over £100,000 in 2023 alone. With a truly diverse range of activities, Olly, who left school at 16 having struggled with dyslexia, has grown his farming acreage from 180 to 1500. From traditional crops to sunflower mazes, office rental and holiday lets, Olly will always find a brilliant way to commercially exploit his land and assets. He promised himself that by the age of 40 he’d own a brand new combine harvester, and having achieved that he then decided to drive his Claas Lexion combine from John O’Groats to Land’s End, all in the name of charity!

Olly is not just about farming, his dedication extends to charitable contributions that exceed £450,000 to date. From his tractor runs through Liverpool, to the YouTube channel’s ‘birthday bumper’, many have benefited from his fundraising, including Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the North West Air Ambulance. As recognition of his continued hard work, Olly has been made a Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside.

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor ACA MSc

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor ACA MSc

Partner, MHA MacIntyre Hudson

Mark is a Chartered Accountant and corporate financier with special interests in food & farming, rural business, ESG and a belief that business must be underpinned by sustainable finance. He established Rural Policy Group in 2019 following 16 years in the rural economy working with both public and private sector businesses. Mark has won numerous awards for his work including Finance Director of the Year 2007, Accounting for Sustainability 2012 (ICEAW), National Business Finance Director 2014 (Finance Director) and the Institute of Directors Blue Ribbon award for Governance and Finance Excellence in 2018.

Mark is a member of the ICAEW Farming and Rural Business Committee and a CBI Southeast Councillor. 

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