Oxford Farming Conference strengthens its board with four new appointments

Photo shows: Dr Jenna Ross
OFC Jenna Ross

The Oxford Farming Conference (OFC), a leading international conference for farming and agribusiness, has appointed four new directors for a three-year term running from the 2022 to the 2024 conference.

The OFC takes place in January every year in the city of Oxford.

OFC Will EvansThe new directors are: Will Evans, a farmer, Rock & Roll Farming podcast host, EatFarmNow co-founder and columnist; Dr Jenna Ross, a scientist and Nuffield Scholar who works for Crop Health and Protection (CHAP), Ben Taylor-Davies a farmer, Nuffield Scholar and regenerative bioagricology advisor and Christopher Price, Chief Executive of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), based in Warwickshire.

The roles are wholly honorary, with Directors volunteering their time to support the charity to deliver its annual conference, the #OFCBitesize series founded during the pandemic, and the Scholars’ and Emerging Leaders’ programmes.

OFC Christopher PriceChristopher Price, formerly Director of Policy and Advice for the CLA says that his aim is to support the OFC board to ensure continuity in delivering its core mission, which he sees as shaping the farming industry’s thinking for the year ahead.

“In the coming years farming will shift to an unsubsidised, more market-facing world in which farmers are rewarded for all the public benefits they provide, as much as for the food they produce. The challenges and opportunities this change presents are enormous. The Oxford Farming Conference is the ideal forum in which new ideas and new approaches can be proposed and debated, and I am looking forward immensely to playing my part in helping the sector find all the ways in which it can thrive.”

The conference has strong international links, welcoming a wide range of diverse speakers. Will Evans applied to become a Director because the conference has the ability to reframe the future vision for food and farming.

“The Conference is a force for good in this unique industry of ours, and I’m absolutely thrilled to get the chance to be a part of it so I can contribute to taking it forward in this incredibly exciting time for UK agriculture.’

OFC Ben Taylor-DaviesBen Taylor-Davies farms in Herefordshire, and practices regenerative agriculture.

“I firmly believe that the future of farming is currently in one of the most exciting times, as we begin to unpick and understand biological processes that secure the resilience of farms for the future, whilst enhancing the environment and biodiversity. It is with great enthusiasm that I look forward to implementing pledges made by our industry to produce quality nutritious food, drawing down carbon with a focus on ecological uplift.”

The conference has a strong commitment to science. With a PhD in Environmental Science, Dr Jenna Ross from Aberdeenshire, has undertaken research in North America and Africa.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as an OFC Director, and to join my esteemed colleagues to bring together a world class conference to inform, challenge and inspire the agricultural industry. This year is especially exciting, as the OFC prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2021.”

The new Directors will formally join the board following the 2021 conference on 7 January, hosted via the OFC’s new interactive online platform. To find out more about the conference, visit www.ofc.org.uk.