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Nuffield Contemporary Scholars Conference at Norwich Research Park

24 March 2022

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Around 150 future farming leaders from around the world gathered in Norfolk to discuss the challenges facing global food production.

The county hosted the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust’s International Contemporary Scholars Conference – which was delayed from last year due to Covid restrictions.

The event is held each year at different international destinations, allowing newly-selected Nuffield Scholars to discuss ideas with industry leaders, experts and scientists.

Many of those discussions took place at the Norwich Research Park (NRP), where topics included achieving “net zero carbon” agriculture, reducing water consumption, improving soils, and the changing balance between biomethane and milk production from dairy cattle.

The workshop sessions with NRP researchers also explored phasing out antibiotics in animal husbandry and dealing with long-term drought in Africa and South America.

The delegates arrived in Norwich from 15 different countries including Brazil, Japan, Paraguay and Zimbabwe, representing a mix of academics, farming professionals and industry experts.

Pete Jackson, chairman of Norwich Research Park, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to host this conference. The pandemic might have delayed the event a year but I am certainly confident that this has made the delegates even more determined to get the most value out of their time here in Norfolk.

“Hosting such a prestigious international farming conference really does underline the stature that Norwich Research Park holds worldwide and I hope to see many of this week’s delegates return to the park in years to come to collaborate with our brilliant researchers.”

Chris Grote Graf, chairman of Nuffield Farming Scholars, said he was “delighted” to hold the conference at the NRP, which is “recognised globally for being the hub for world-leading research in the areas of agri-tech, bio-tech and food-tech”.

The week-long conference programme opened on March 8 at Dunston Hall Hotel, where National Farmers’ Union president Minette Batters gave a presentation on “British agriculture in a global setting”

Other discussions throughout the week ranged from business innovation and modern farming technologies to climate change, mental health and nutrition.

Delegates were also due to visit businesses at the Food Enterprise Park in Easton, including vertical farming pioneers Fischer Farms and mustard processors Condimentum, as well as agricultural buyers AF Group at Honingham Thorpe and the farming estates at Houghton and Holkham.

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