A Conversation with…Dr Geraint Parry

Risk is acknowledged as a key barrier to the widespread adoption of regenerative agriculture, and as a result, the need to create a robust evidence base to help overcome this challenge has been identified. Dr Geraint Parry, Executive Officer of the Association of Applied Biologists (AAB), is behind an upcoming conference, which aims to collate scientific knowledge and evidence, to help evaluate the potential opportunities and challenges of regenerative agriculture.

What is the AAB?

The AAB is a learned society and charity, that focuses on many different areas of applied biology. We publish scientific journals, organise conferences across a range of related subject themes, formulate and disseminate policies to promote the discipline, and publish a monthly newsletter, among other activities. We offer a membership scheme which acts as a forum for applied biologists worldwide, many of whom are proactive in applied academic research.

Why are you interested in regenerative agriculture specifically?

Sustainable agriculture practices, or regenerative agriculture, is successfully engaging the agricultural community, which includes many AAB members who are spread across academia, industry and farming. AAB membership is organised into 10 distinct specialist interest groups, each with their own committees. Two of these groups – Cropping and the Environment (CATE), and Soil Biology, encouraged us to explore the topic further, and ultimately oversee the scientific content of this upcoming conference. This highlights the usual AAB method of action, in which our activities are decided from the ‘bottom up’ through our specialist groups.

What is the conference about?

We want to bring researchers and interested individuals together to explore the evidence base that supports regenerative agriculture. Many anecdotal experiences have been shared in the past, but agriculture is an evidence-led industry. The conference aims to facilitate this by exploring the techniques behind it all and how they work from an applied researcher’s angle. We welcome abstract submissions on any relevant topics and look forward to exploring how these can be translated onto farm.

Do you have an outcome or goal in mind?

Aside from showcasing a wide range of perspectives through the speaker programme, we hope to create a fruitful discussion hub that produces tangible outcomes to explore further. Ideally, making long-term connections, which is not dissimilar to the work that CHAP does. We’re really pleased that CHAP is involved with the conference, demonstrating the positive synergise between our two organisations and the combined greater force.

What is your take home message?

Ensuring food production is sustainable is something that we can’t ignore, and we each have a level of responsibility, whether that’s as a researcher or a farmer. It’s firmly on the agenda and small changes are already taking place from an industry perspective. What we need more of are the links between farmers and experimentalists, to coordinate not only knowledge, but resources too. Hopefully the conference will contribute to this need.

For more information about the conference which is taking place on April 25 & 26 and sponsored by CHAP, visit here.

CHAP aims to build networks of leading scientists, farmers, advisors, businesses and academia to understand industry priorities and develop innovative solutions. To be our next guest contributor, e-mail enquiries@chap-solutions.co.uk

Please note, the opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of CHAP.