Held on Thursday 22 June at Cranfield University and organised by Woodland Trust, Royal Forestry Society and Soil Association.
Thank you to everyone who attended, spoke at, exhibited or tweeted about Agroforestry 2017.
The 250 attendees included farmers, foresters, landowners and researchers who joined together to explore the benefits and practicalities of bringing more trees onto farmland, and taking farming into forests.
Speakers from France, Australia and around the world described how practices are increasingly popular, with the need to tackle soil erosion and cope with climate change making trees an ever more important ingredient for productive cropping and livestock farming. Providing a local perspective, British farmers who are already reaping the benefits of agroforestry shared their experiences. One of these was David Brass from The Lakes Free Range Egg Co. in Cumbria.
Missed out on Agroforestry 2017? Or want a recap?
If you want more information from any of the speakers, please get in touch.
At first, we were planting trees simply to encourage our hens to range, having recognised their inclination towards sheltered areas. But the benefits went far beyond that original motive and, as well as the undeniable improvements to the hens’ welfare, we’ve seen better soil water retention, more biodiversity and crucially a higher quality product.David Brass, Lakes Free Range Eggs Co.
This is an overview of the programme. The day will be chaired by Farming Today presenter, Charlotte Smith. More details, including speaker information, will be added in the coming weeks.
08.30 – 09.30 Welcome and refreshments
09.30 - 09.35 Welcome - Charlotte Smith, Farming Today presenter
09.35 – 10:45 What can agroforestry achieve?
What are the benefits of agroforestry for businesses, communities and nature? Could it go mainstream – while rare in Britain, is it big in other countries? What would be the impact?
This opening session explores the huge potential of agroforestry, drawing on the latest research and examples from around the world. We will tackle definitions, misconceptions and opportunities, setting out why agroforestry is a boon for sustainable farming.
Patrick Worms, World Agroforestry Centre
Tim Pagella, Bangor University
Alain Canet, French Agroforestry Association
Mike Strachan, Forestry Commission Scotland
10.45 – 11.30 Refreshments
11.30 - 13.00 Agroforestry in practice
Take a tour of some of the UK’s leading agroforestry systems. The people behind them will tell you why and how they set them up, and how they’re working in practice, warts and all.
These practical examples will provide evidence and inspiration on how agroforestry can boost farm productivity and make economic sense. This is a chance to ask practical questions about establishing, managing and marketing your new crop, and the real-world business case.
Stephen Briggs, Whitehall Farm
David Brass, The Lakes Free Range Egg Company
Paul and Nicola Renison, Cannerheugh Farm
Andrew Barbour, Mains of Fincastle Farm
Prof. Chris Stoate, Allerton Project
James Thomas, Haywood Oaks Farm
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 15.00 Finding or making a market
Perhaps the biggest question in developing an agroforestry system is how you will sell what you produce. Often this will mean understanding a new market or, in some cases, creating one. Relevant markets range from timber and biomass, to fruit, nuts and ecosystem services. Sometimes, you may be meeting a demand within your own business, for example for forage.
Where are some of the key market opportunities, and how can you get into them?
Sophie Churchill, Royal Forestry Society
Paul Burgess, Cranfield University
Christophe Klotz, Agrivair
15.00 - 15.45 Multi-functional land use – Fit for the Future
With a focus on ‘walking the talk’, a select panel of speakers will offer inspirational reflections on the main points of the day, and future potential for agroforestry in the UK. In view of Brexit, could agroforestry be at the heart of an integrated approach to land use policy?
Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust
Paul Brennan, MEP
Shireen Chambers, Institute of Chartered Foresters
Christopher Price, CLA
Rowan Reid, Australian Agroforestry Foundation
15.45 – 16.30 Refreshments
15.45 - 16.30 Surgeries
These optional surgery sessions will give you practical ‘one to one’ advice or a workshop offering support on taking those next steps.
Join us at the Innovation Bar, where as farmers and foresters you have the space to discuss and form your own field labs based on the real issues you may / do face in agroforestry. Part problem-solving, part knowledge-sharing, this session is aimed to find solutions – come over a drink / coffee and get involved!
Woodland Trust and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust
Want to know more about trees on farms? Come and meet our woodland creation advisors, farmers and researchers and special guest Melyn the Sheep with a difference.
RFS and the Forestry Commission
Our woodlands have been managed successfully during the last century under the assumption that the environment they are growing in will be relatively stable. This key assumption is now proven to be flawed. We can help you make the right choices for today and tomorrow.
AGFORWARD / AFINET
Agroforestry Innovations across Europe - showcasing a range of agroforestry systems/specific innovations from various countries (with a focus on northern European systems, or if from further south, on innovations that would be relevant to a UK system).
This will be a timed 1 to 1 surgery session with Abacus professionals - the UK leaders in advice and training on agroforestry - answering questions on agroforestry design, crop and tree choice, management, markets, economics and regulation.
We may be able to offer bursaries for students to attend depending on sponsorship. Sponsorship and exhibition spaces are also available. Please contact us for details.
Charlotte Smith (Chair)
Charlotte presents farming today on BBC Radio 4 and also reports for BBC 1's Countryfile. She has been covering rural affairs for 20 years. She is (from May 2017) President of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs and a former voluntary director of the Oxford Farming Conference.
Andrew works on a family farming and forestry business in Highland Perthshire, running cattle and sheep on land that is over 1000ft altitude. Different generations of his family have developed shelter woods on the farm, and Andrew is interested in the management of pastoral woodlands and how they integrate with grassland management.
Paul was elected Member of the European Parliament in 2014. His main areas of interests include climate change mitigation and adaptation, forestry, food chain sustainability and rural development. He leads on issues related to agriculture, land use and rural affairs for the European Parliamentary Labour Party.
David Brass and his wife Helen own The Lakes Free Range Egg Co., supplying 350 million eggs per year to retail and food service sectors. Twice Poultry Farmer of the Year, David is holder of numerous awards for innovation and environmental / sustainable agriculture. He is currently a Laying Hen Welfare Forum Member.
Stephen is an organic arable, vegetable and fruit farmer based in Peterborough who has established the largest silvoarable scheme in the UK (52ha). He is the Director of Abacus Agriculture Consultants and Head of soil and water at Innovation for Agriculture which is part of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE).
Paul is Reader in Crop Ecology and Management at Cranfield University, Secretary of the Farm Woodland Forum, and Co-ordinator of the 4 year AGFORWARD research project that is working with 26 organisations and 40 stakeholder groups across Europe to encourage innovative agroforestry practices that provide financial and environmental benefits.
Alain co-founded the French Agroforestry Association in 2007 and has been chairing it since 2010. In 2014, he was also elected as the French delegate to the European Agroforestry Federation (EURAF). He edits the “Arbres en Campagne” book series, which helps him convey his passion for a fully sustainable agriculture to an ever-wider audience.
Shireen studied forestry and soil science at Bangor University before embarking on a career overseas. She returned to the UK to work with the Central Scotland Forest and continued as a practitioner in community and urban forestry throughout the UK. She has been Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Foresters since 2006.
Sophie is the President of the Royal Forestry Society and chairs the Potato Sector Board of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, which enables UK farming to be competitive and sustainable. She was formally the Chief Executive of The National Forest. Sophie chairs TREE AID.
Christophe has been head of Agrivair (a subsidiary of Nestlé Waters France, in charge of mineral water protection in recharge areas) since 2012. He previously worked for a co-operative group in France where he was in charge of development, agronomy and public relations. In 2009 he obtained an MBA in Sustainable Development.
A planning and environmental lawyer by background, Christopher joined the CLA as public law adviser in 2002. Now Director of Policy and Advice, he has overall responsibility for managing the CLA's national policy and advisory work, making sure that policy focuses on what matters most, and that members' queries are dealt with accurately and efficiently.
Rowan is Managing Director of the Australian Agroforestry Foundation, and has been a leader in the development of agroforestry education and extension programs in Australia, having developed the first University course and the Australian Master TreeGrower Program. He also owns Bambra Agroforestry Farm, a private agroforestry education centre.
Paul and Nicola Renison
Paul and Nicola farm 350 acres on the edge of the Pennines. They have 1000 Aberfield X ewes, contract reared dairy heifers, as well a small suckler herd, and have worked alongside the Woodland Trust helping to promote the benefits of planting hedges and trees in relation to sheep farming and water management.
Beccy has been CEO of the Woodland Trust since 2014, having previously worked for the National Trust where she was responsible for leading work on their sustainable food agenda. She has also chaired the Food for Life Catering Mark Standards Committee and contributed to national steering groups on contemporary art and engaging urban communities.
Professor Chris Stoate
Chris is Head of Research at the Allerton Project, where he coordinates a wide range of agri-environmental research. An agroforestry system has recently been planted in collaboration with the Woodland Trust. He has previously carried out research into agroforestry systems in Portugal and West Africa, and he's also planted native tree species on his own farm.
Mike is Policy and Development Officer for Forestry Commission Scotland. As Chairman of the UK Farm Woodland Forum and a member of the European Agroforestry Federation, Mike has helped to support changes at a European level to allow for Agroforestry to be an accepted measure in the Rural Development programme.
Patrick, a molecular geneticist, represents the World Agroforestry Centre, the world’s premier research institution devoted to the study of the roles of trees in agricultural landscapes. Active since the 1970s, the World Agroforestry Centre has reported on the astonishing benefits of multi-crop agriculture involving trees in thousands of peer-reviewed publications.
Following an early career as a farming consultant in East Anglia, James Thomas now farms in partnership with his father, Richard, on the North Nottinghamshire sands. Whilst specialising in the production of carrots and Chantenay, James is passionate about diverse and sustainable farming practices incorporating HLS and the ongoing management and creation of woodland.
Tim Pagella is lecturer in agroforestry at Bangor University and a researcher with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). His research interests focus on the role of agroforestry for delivering ecosystem services, resilience and sustainable intensification at landscape scales. His recent work explores how shelter systems can reduce flood risk whilst enhancing production.
The venue is well connected with a range of accommodation options within easy reach. The following options are on-site at Cranfield University. Please contact directly to make a reservation, and book early to avoid disappointment.
Rooms from £60 inc. VAT and breakfast.
Rooms from £90.00 inc VAT and breakfast.
Venue Cranfield’s facilities are centrally located in the Bedfordshire countryside and within easy access from the M1 Junctions 13 & 14, main line rail services to Bedford and Milton Keynes as well as London Luton airport. More detailed directions to the venue can be found on the Venue Cranfield website.
Onsite parking is complimentary. There are several campus carparks located within a 5-10 minute walk from the Vincent Conference Centre. Disabled car parking and a bike rake are available outside the Vincent Conference Centre.
Venue Address: Vincent Conference Centre, Cranfield University, Vincent building, Cranfield, Bedford, MK43 0AL
Want another day of agroforestry?
The Farm Woodland Forum are hosting their annual meeting on 23 June, the day after Agroforestry 2017. The theme of the event is "Practical agroforestry in the British Isles" and will include a visit to Stephen Briggs system near Peterborough.
This is being organised separately. Please see here for full details and booking.