LEAF Annual Conference 2015 - Live Blog

Setting the Agenda: Healthy Food and Farming Fit for the Future

Tuesday 3rd November 2015

27/10/15 Reverse order Timestamp format


  1. Looking forward to #LEAFconf15.... Just a week to go!

    Simon Bull
  2. 6 days to go! Grt speakers at our annual conference. Join in #LEAFconf15 &follow live  http://bit.ly/1PRqr5B  pic.twitter.com/5HVSnMCAXf
  3. Only 6 days to go! Looking forward to all the discussions on Healthy Food&Farming Fit for the Future #LEAFconf15  https://twitter.com/kathrynm48/status/659316987659726848 
  4. Just a few days to go until this year's Annual Conference. The theme is 'Setting the Agenda: Healthy Food and Farming Fit for the Future'. We'll be live blogging here all day Tuesday and you can also follow all the discussion on Twitter by following #LEAFconf15

    LEAF
  5. Almost here. Conference tomorrow. Join the discussions #LEAFconf15 &follow the live blog  http://bit.ly/1PRqr5B  pic.twitter.com/6xGK0lVC7L
  6. We're looking forward to our Annual Conference tomorrow - some amazing speakers lined up and there's sure to be some great debate. Join us here where we'll be blogging all day or follow #LEAFconf15 on Twitter

    LEAF
  7. Today's the day... speakers at our Annual Conference include Dame Anne Glover CBE, Meurig Raymond (NFU), Sara Eppel (Defra), Jake Freestone (Overbury Farms) and Judith Batchelar OBE (Sainsbury's).

    LEAF
  8. Today's guests will be enjoying a lunch of LEAF Marque produce. To find out more about LEAF Marque visit: http://www.leafuk.org/leaf/farmers/LEAFmarquecertification.eb

    LEAF
  9. Going on Thames River boat from the farmers club to @LEAF_Farming conference at Canary Wharf
    LEAF
  10. @GreenCrispy good luck with your @Waitrose farming conf today, unfortunately clashes with @LEAF_Farming President day. Next year no clash?
  11. We'll be filming today's Annual Conference. Footage will be available on the site later this month.

    LEAF
  12. Healthy Food&Farming Fit for the Future. Grt speakers&debate. Join us live  http://bit.ly/1PRqr5B  #LEAFconf15 pic.twitter.com/Pd5PLT53Wi
  13. Speakers are all ready to go and guests are arriving. Our conference kicks off soon..

    LEAF
  14. Showcasing sustainable farming in action through Integrated Farm Management #LEAFconf15 # pic.twitter.com/8zAsVwsK64
  15. We'd like to say a big thank you to HSBC for hosting our Annual Conference at their HQ in Canary Wharf.

    LEAF
  16. And we're off. Allan Wilkinson, HSBC, kicks off the 2015 LEAF Annual Conference

    LEAF
  17. Spectacular speakers. Sustaining debate. #LEAFconf15 Technology, science, innovation, public engagement. pic.twitter.com/Vt806kpMQO
  18. We have real challenges ahead, says Allan.

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  19. Where do we see things in 20 years? asks Baroness Byford
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  20. There are huge opportunities out there, although times have been difficult for farmers.
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  21. Tom Heap, our chair for the day, is up next.

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  22. #LEAFconf15 starting off with introductions from Allan Wilkinson, HSBC and Baroness Byford, @LEAF_Farming President
  23. @LEAF_Farming #LEAFconf15 underway. Packed house. Focus on link between food production, the environment and health
  24. LEAF is a pragmatic organisation, says Tom
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  25. Thank you for braving the jubilee line! says LEAF Chairman Stephen Fell as he takes the stage
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  26. Supply and demand is a tough feature in the modern market place, says Stephen Fell
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  27. First up is LEAF chairman Stephen Fell, who sets the scene for why we need a healthy farming sector producing healthy food.
  28. @tomheapmedia states: LEAF's greatest strength is to do with it being less about ideology but more about ideas.#LEAFconf15
  29. Our wonderful display of LEAF Marque produce shows what can be done with attention to detail and good marketing, says Stephen.
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  30. @tomheapmedia setting the scene @LEAF_Farming #LEAFconf15 lots of @LEAFMarque produce but no broccoli in sight- sorry!
  31. Sustainable farming is at the heart of our vision for a world that is farming eating and living sustainably.


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  32. At the start of the day LEAF President Baroness Byford asked where do we see things in 20 years?

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  33. I have great home that a revolution is underway to reeducate farmers on how to use our most precious asset - soil, says Stephen


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  34. Stephen Fell talks about the success of Open Farm Sunday:

    There is a growing empathy between farmers and the general public.

    The rapport between farmers and visitors on Open Farm Sunday is a wonderful achievement for LEAF and all its supporters.

    LEAF
  35. Still to come... why science based evidence is key, what IFM looks like in action, and how retailers can work with farmers to bring about change... and so much more

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  36. We're delighted that Professor Dame Anne Glover DBE is up next.

    Tom Heap says when introducing her...

    That's a lot of titles!
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  37. Dame Glover opens with a tip:

    If you want free hairdressing tell your hair dresser you're filming for the BBC!
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  38. Stephen Fell @LEAF_Farming chairman explains LEAF’s crucial role in developing ‘Healthy food and farming, fit for the future’ #LEAFconf15
  39. Dame Glover says:

    Farming is constantly changing to meet the needs of citizens. Farming of the 1950s is unrecognisable from the farming of today.
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  40. @AnneGlover_EU Good for Us. Good for Environment. Farming constantly changing to meet needs of global citizens. #LEAFconf15
  41. Dame Glover says:

    We've got a strange attitude to food in the developed world. People are eating too much, while elsewhere in the world people are starving.
    LEAF
  42. @AnneGlover_EU Strange global dichotomy: People starving. People eating too much. People wasting food. Innovation in agriculture is key.
  43. Dame Glover explains the value of food.

    We can live without diamond rings; we can't live without food.
    LEAF
  44. 38% of European budget goes to agriculture and the rural environment.

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  45. @AnneGlover_EU Total disconnect with our food, how it is produced, where it comes from&what it gives us. Agriculture is undervalued.
  46. By 2050 there will be a 70% increase in food demand.

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  47. Dame Glover says:

    Our planet is increasingly under pressure. We have to meet demand sustainably.
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  48. People are dying for lack of food - we need to address this.
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  49. @AnneGlover_EU By 2050 70% increase in food demand. We will need to produce more from less. Challenge is to meet demand sustainably.
  50. Dame Glover says:

    Science and technology are part of our culture. We invented the modern world.
    LEAF
  51. Only 13-18% of our land surface is naturally fertile.

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  52. @LEAF_Farming #LEAFconf15 @AnneGlover_EU comparing the value of a diamond ring and food - can live without diamonds pic.twitter.com/PYPfzDxGL0
  53. [email protected]AnneGlover_EU Science is key to sustainable future on the planet. 99% of our calories come from the land. #LEAFconf15
  54. Because of their knowledge scientists have a power that makes them dangerous. Who agrees?

    LEAF
  55. Great stat from Glover at #LEAFconf15: we get 99% of our calories from land, just 1% from marine environment. Shows why good land use is key
  56. [email protected]AnneGlover_EU Options to deliver sustainable farming&access to food. Commuication&Change. New approaches for #sustainablefarming
  57. Anne Glover Key challenges can only be addressed by application of science @LEAF_Farming #LEAFconf15 Sadly, many people do not trust science
  58. Glover now talking about the "confusing world" of GM crops. #LEAFconf15 pic.twitter.com/mAciJNuYY1
  59. Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option, says Dame Glover

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  60. [email protected]AnneGlover_EU GM technology is part of the solution to meeting global food demands, sustainably #LEAFconf15 pic.twitter.com/1VW9e77nXb
  61. #LEAFconf15 Prof Dame Anne Glover: Trust in scientists is declining when innovation most needed.
  62. Dame Glover says:

    Planning ahead is vital. The most precious thing on our planet is food. We need to think about innovation.
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  63. Dame Glover says we need to invest :

    We need research - and funding. In the UK we're good at being smart.
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  64. [email protected]AnneGlover_EU #LEAFconf15 Innovation in agriculture. Its the little things that have the biggest impact. pic.twitter.com/QtapMoZkJy
  65. Money for research and science should be considered as investment #LEAFconf15 @AnneGlover_EU @LEAF_Farming
  66. NFU President Meurig Raymond MBE is next up. He opens by saying:

    Can I start by congratulating LEAF on their 25th Anniversary and for the continuing success of Open Farm Sunday.
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  67. Meurig says:

    It's vital we talk about the strength of our farming to consumers. The quality of our food is backed by excellent provenance,
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  68. Farmers are the bedrock in protecting our countryside.

    LEAF
  69. @meurigraymond @NFU vital to talk about the strengths of British Farming to consumers. @OpenFarmSunday achieved so much #LEAFconf15
  70. Meurig says:

    Farmers can be trusted to deliver.
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  71. 290k+ visitors to this year's Open Farm Sunday.

    LEAF
  72. #LEAFconf15 @LEAF_Farming @NFUtweets Meurig Raymond backing British farming campaign & @OpenFarmSunday celebrating farming at it's best
  73. Meurig says:

    I'm incredibly proud of the effort farmers are making to enhance the environment - this is increasingly critical for the future.
    LEAF
  74. #LEAFconf15 @LEAF_Farming @NFUtweets Meurig Raymond proud of efforts of farmers to enhance natural environment. Critical for future.
  75. Meurig says:

    Growth for growth's sake has no place in a strategy for the future of farming... and neither does growth at any price.
    LEAF
  76. UK farmers have become more efficient - reducing input use by about 20% since the 1990s

    LEAF
  77. Protecting&enhancing environment critical to our production potential.#LEAFconf15 @LEAF_Farming @NFUtweets Meurig Raymond
  78. Meurig Raymond echoes Anne Glover's sentiment that investment in research is vital.

    LEAF
  79. Meurig says:

    Productivity growth is not the enemy of the environment.
    The more efficient a farm business becomes the more resilient and successful it will be.
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  80. Productivity matters.Margins enables farmers to invest in businesses. Productivity not enemy of environment. #LEAFconf15 Meurig Raymond
  81. Meurig highlights the importance of technology advances in farming:

    Auto steer on technology has been a revelation.
    LEAF
  82. Meurig talks about the NFU's plan for farming:

    The NFU plan will highlight the challenges but also the opportunities - for each sector.
    LEAF
  83. 747 farmers have left the dairy industry since January 2014.

    LEAF
  84. Meurig Raymond - development and uptake of precision & technical developments key for future growth @LEAF_Farming #LEAFconf15
  85. Meurig says:

    We need a government that champions British farming and encourages innovation.
    LEAF
  86. #LEAFconf15 @NFUtweets Meurig Raymond Science&technology unlocks the potential of smart sustainable farming. pic.twitter.com/taKUqYgq6d
  87. 85% of consumers in the UK want to see more British food on supermarket shelves (YouGov)

    LEAF
  88. Sara Eppel, Head of Innovative and Sustainable Farming, Defra, is next up to talk about their 25 year Food and Farming plan

    LEAF
  89. #LEAFconf15 @NFUtweets Meurig Raymond huge potential for farmers to put more sustainably produced food on consumers plates @LEAFMarque
  90. Next speaker at #LEAFconf15 is Sara Eppel, head of innovation and sustainable farming at Defra
  91. Sara Eppel, Head of Sustainable Farming at Defra at the podium. Responsible for 25 year plan. @LEAF_Farming #LEAFconf15
  92. Sara says:

    Industry need to buy in to our plan.
    LEAF
  93. Sara says:

    The brand of British food is well respected because of: our heritage, beautiful countryside, animal welfare standards, environmental standards.
    LEAF
  94. Sara Eppel - 25 year F&F plan to be published Spring 2016. Links with Environment plan @LEAF_Farming #LEAFconf15 pic.twitter.com/Jo6uPTGvLr
  95. Sara says:

    Every farmer in this country has to meet basic environmental standards.
    LEAF
  96. Sara says:

    Over the past few years we've learned what works really well when it comes to environmental schemes.
    LEAF
  97. Sara Eppel @DefraGovUK UK delivers a very special environment. We do environment everywhere. #LEAFconf15
  98. Sara says:

    Productivity in farming is vastly different from one end of the food chain to the other. Reducing inputs (total business costs) and increasing outputs is key.
    LEAF
  99. In UK we insist on good environmental standards on every farm. Every farm meeting basic standards. Sara Eppel @DefraGovUK #LEAFconf15
  100. The top 10% of our farmers produce double from a £100 investment than the bottom 10% do.

    LEAF
  101. Sara says skills are key :

    We are pushing on apprenticeships but it goes beyond this.
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  102. @DefraGovUK Sara Eppel Life long learning, getting farmers engaged&upskilling vital for future #LEAFconf15 pic.twitter.com/hYJNnEnnnu
  103. Communication and collaboration is key says Sara Eppel, Defra:

    Sharing of best practice is a key focus.

    LEAF
  104. Sara Eppel @DefraGovUK #LEAFconf15 increasing resilience helping farmers to deal with volatility in markets key to sustainable farming.
  105. Eppel: we are world-class in food reformulation, and we will be pushing this hard. #LEAFconf15
  106. £2.6 billion will be spent on environmental schemes in farming (CAP 2014-20)

    LEAF
  107. Sara says, you don't have to be a big farm to do best.

    There are plenty of successful smaller farms.
    LEAF
  108. Questions now to our panel of speakers. Tom Heap starts by asking if CAP is too much of a cushion...

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  109. Well done to @LEAF_Demo farmers. They focus on production, respond to supply chain needs&enviornmental standards. Sara Eppel #LEAFconf15
  110. A healthy debate now on where energy fits (or should fit) into any future farming strategy

    LEAF
  111. Anne Glover on biofuels:

    It's not always possible to change policy quickly.
    LEAF
  112. Q. How can the scientific community help the public to deal with risk in a useful way?

    Anne Glover says the way statistics are reported by the media can be misleading - the recent red meat articles being a case in point. Scientists can help make things clear.


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  113. A quick break for coffee...Up next LEAF Demonstration farmer Jake Freestone, Judith Batchelar OBE, Sainsbury's, and our Chief Executive Caroline Drummond MBE

    LEAF
  114. Jake Freestone is going to talk about IFM in practice...

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  115. It always seems impossible until it is done. (Nelson Mandela via Jake Freestone)

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  116. Jake is using pictures of one field to talk about all nine aspects of Integrated Farm Management

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  117. Jake says:

    It's all about efficiency.
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  118. 80% of energy we use in cultivation is used to remove previous work we've done to those fields

    LEAF
  119. @No1FarmerJake #LEAFconf15 Delivering sustainable farming through IFM.Using best of modern tech&traditional methods. pic.twitter.com/ylVXddqQp9
  120. Earthworms can produce between 4 and 6 tonnes of excreted material per hectare

    LEAF
  121. Jake says:

    Through IFM we have more nutrient availability in soil
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  122. Jake on Animal Husbandry:

    We need to get more livestock on our fields. but the methods we use to do this need to be profitable in their own way.
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  123. Jake also says research is needed - a popular theme today:

    We have a huge opportunity by harnessing biology...
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  124. Soil. Building block of sustainable farming.Farmers need to harness the biology of soil. @No1FarmerJake #LEAFconf15 pic.twitter.com/XMt2s3KADf
  125. Jake says:

    Cover crops are key to making the whole system work
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  126. @No1FarmerJake discussing use of cover crops and the benefits they bring as determined by simple farmer monitoring @LEAF_Farming #LEAFconf15
  127. Jake says we need to reach out not only to consumers but to the farming community too

    Social media is key.
    LEAF
  128. Up next: Judith Batchelar OBE, Director of Sainsbury's Brand

    LEAF
  129. Judith says:

    Our strapline is Eat Well for Less. We would like our customers to live longer.
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  130. @No1FarmerJake #LEAFconf15 @OpenFarmSunday Community engagement is key. Building trust&understanding in food&farming pic.twitter.com/lcyqOGCU8a
  131. 70% of people will be living in cities by 2050. From a total world population of 9 billion.

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  132. Judith says:

    We are the second cheapest place in the world to feed ourselves - food relative to disposal income has never been cheaper.
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  133. @JudithBatchelar #LEAFconf15@LEAF_Marque very relevant for consumer engagement in their food & its provenance pic.twitter.com/aOXGh8knMF
  134. Who is making the health choices? Judith says:

    Most of the health benefits we've seen have been driven by stealth, not by positive consumer choice.
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  135. 80% of shopping baskets stay the same week after week

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  136. @JudithBatchelar #LEAFconf15 complex agendas, big structural challenges for a fragmented industry. We have to do things differently.
  137. Soil to landfill: We need to understand the end to end value chain says Judith Batchelar

    LEAF's Chain of Custody is a valuable insight tool.
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  138. Value isn't just about price, says Judith:

    You can always buy something cheaper elsewhere.
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  139. Soil health, plant health, animal health and human health are all inextricably linked says Judith:

    You can't have one without the other - it wouldn't be sustainable
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  140. @LEAFMarque Chain of Custody hugely important to building resilience&transparency in supply chains  http://bit.ly/1H2F9EY  @JudithBatchelar
  141. Human Health starts with Soil Hhttp://bit.ly/1yUZQNhealth. Interchangeable. @JudithBatchelar #LEAFconf15 pic.twitter.com/ArNEBX0zsO
  142. J B: Ag needs to deliver food with higher nutritional value. #LEAFconf15 @LEAF_Farming @sainsburys
  143. Judith Batchelar on Big Data:

    We've got more data than ever before but we need to analyse and understand it and use it to provide foresight as well as hindsight.
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  144. Judith says:

    Consumers want to do the same things such as drink fizzy drinks - but they want them to be healthier.
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  145. Judith finishes by saying:

    LEAF is well placed to meet the challenges ahead.

    .

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  146. No introduction needed for Caroline Drummond says Tom Heap...

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  147. Caroline says:

    Over the last 50 years the global diet has shifted dramatically
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  148. @JudithBatchelar @sainsburys #LEAFconf15 we need consumers to do things differently. Integrated total food systems approach. LEAF is answer.
  149. Caroline explains why health is so important:

    Children as young as five are having their teeth pulled out because they're so rotten.
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  150. Diversity in the diet is key says Caroline (at the exact point the LEAF Marque lunch is wheeled into the room!)

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  151. 31.8% of farmers believe sustainability is key for driving their business

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  152. @LEAFchief #LEAFconf15 Still seeing our biodiversity being lost. Big challenge. Doing so much but not enough. IFM is the answer.
  153. 33 countries across the globe with LEAF Marque producers

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  154. Caroline says:

    LEAF Marque is crucial - to integrate into everything LEAF does over the next 25 years.
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  155. 1.6million people have visited an Open Farm Sunday event since it launched in 2006

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  156. LEAF's Siimply Sustainable Biodiversity  http://bit.ly/1gQtgoY  helping farmers to farm for biodiversity #LEAFconf15 pic.twitter.com/dwHFgraDcN
  157. Caroline says:

    We want to inspire and enable people. Healthy farming is key.
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  158. Caroline says:

    We're looking to build on the past 25 years

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  159. Delivering healthy food&farming fit for the future. LEAF looks ahead to next 25 yrs. #LEAFconf15 @LEAFchief pic.twitter.com/WwlFCLzLA3
  160. Caroline Drummond - Diversity in diet crucial. Biodiversity us still declining. IFM can address both issues @LEAF_Farming #LEAFconf15
  161. An absolutely amazing lunch.

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  162. @No1FarmerJake Hasn't @LEAF_Farming been pretty cool to #GMO technology, itself? Or is a change in attitude occurring? @AnneGlover_EU
  163. Now we're all suitably fed it's time for a Q and A session to debate the issues raised this morning

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  164. There's a difference between planning policy and planning implementation says Sara Eppel

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  165. Soil is not a sexy subject


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  166. Dame Glover says:

    Further education colleges have a role to play in training scientists for the future.
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  167. Debating the skills shortage in agriculture and science...

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  168. Food for thought at this afternoon's #LEAFconf15 discussion.Sustainable farming delivered through joined up thinking,collaboration,education
  169. Tom Heap asks do farmers really care about soil or is it all about the next harvest?

    Andrea Graham from NFU says yes they do - passionately.

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  170. Farmers do care but whether they know the latest tech on how to treat the soils - that is the question says Jake Freestone


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  171. Soil quality is being embedded in tenancy agreements says Andrea Graham, NFU

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  172. Soil may not be a sexy subject but it's certainly a fascinating one that has got the debate going full flow

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  173. Practical economically viable farming practices that ensure soil is kept in good heart. @LEAF_Farming demo farmers doing this through IFM
  174. Duncan Farrington says farmers' knowledge is on the increase

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  175. Are LEAF willing to make a few 'enemies' on subjects like pesticide or neonics? asks Duncan Farrington

    Caroline Drummond: We are always willing to debate these issues and will continue to do so. In 25 years the pressures will be higher.

    Stephen Fell: If we've got justification and it is based on good science - then yes we will make a stand

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  176. Anne Glover: we need the data to make the right decisions

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  177. Chairman, Stephen Fell says LEAF will continue to back good science&listen to scientists as it looks ahead to its next 25years #LEAFconf15
  178. LEAF looks ahead to 25th anniversary in 2016. Delivering healthy food&farming fit for the future #LEAFconf15 pic.twitter.com/G6BfBSmKHg
  179. Andrea Graham, NFU: We will continue to listen to farmers. Farmers understand their businesses

    Sara Eppell: the evidence suggests that unfortunately many don't.

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  180. Caroline Drummond: using LEAF tools such as LEAF Audit and Sustainable Farming Review means that we can benchmark farming efficiency

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  181. Next up ... GM crops

    Caroline Drummond: We have always supported GM as one of the tools in the box for the right situation. The challenge is communicating its acceptability

    Jake Freestone: there is no point growing something customers won't buy

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  182. Sara Eppel: there is a lot of research and technologically going on - not all of which is GM

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  183. We asked earlier are scientists dangerous - Tom Heap says they can be.
    Anne Glover tells him he's dangerous too - he's a journalist!

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  184. A comment from the floor... We are already doing GM in medicine

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  185. @sdranyam we need to move the GM debate beyond the food chain. GM technology is already being used within the health/medicine sector.
  186. Sara Eppel has been asked why (some) environmentalists 'hate' farmers. She says: There is an assumption that increased productivity does not equal increased environmental care which is not the case. But there will always be areas where they are widely opposed.

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  187. Sara adds: There isn't always enough evidence on cause and effect of certain issues

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  188. @BinnyGraham @NFUtweets states: productive&sustainable farming systems go hand in hand.LEAFdemo farmers delivering just this.
  189. Caroline Drummond says: We shouldn't get too cosy. We need to be challenged in order to make change

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  190. How can we grow LEAF membership? Need to see policy that rewards best environmental practice. Farmers need to be recognised. #LEAFconf15
  191. Caroline Drummond:
    There is a real opportunity to drive and build LEAF Marque.
    Farmers need support.
    We don't value the environment in the same way we value price. We need a currency for the environment.

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  192. Sara Eppel:
    You can do fantastic farming and fantastic work for the environment and you can do this together.

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  193. Tom Heap asks Jake Freestone - would you be interested in growing produce grown specifically for it's health benefits?
    Jake says definitely - but it is not always possible to pass the costs on to consumers

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  194. @RapeseedOilMan calls for LEAF to take moment on health agenda/nutrient dense food. British farming needs to grasp these issues. #LEAFconf15
  195. Fabulous debate as always... Passion in the room highlighting passion in the industry

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  196. The Rt Hon Michael Jack CBE agrees - he uses the word passion straight away in his closing remarks

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  197. Farmers should read The Grocer says Michael Jack. It gives insights into the consumers mind and the food industry

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  198. Michael Jack: There is hope for organisations like LEAF, integrating healthy food and healthy farming.

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  199. LEAF Board member Michael Jack sums up #LEAFconf15:Diversity.Passion.Sustability.Traceability.Integration. pic.twitter.com/FfDcMz9OFX
  200. Michael Jack: Through Open Farm Sunday we have an opportunity to reach consumers - not just those on the farm on the day but through publicity too

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  201. Communicate&Change don't leave it to chance.Farming industry must communicate. @OpenFarmSunday is the way to do it. Michael Jack #LEAFconf15
  202. Overarching theme for today's #leafconf15: The answer lies in the soil. Fundamental foundation for agriculture. LEAF Trustee Michael Jack
  203. Michael Jack: people are interested in food - the success of the Great British Bake Off shows that. LEAF has a role to play as ambassadors of the food and farming industry.

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  204. Vigorous debate about how LEAF's aims&objectives can be taken forward in next 25yrs.Michael Jack #LEAFconf15 pic.twitter.com/xqEsM3c0f0