Oxford Farming Conference 2021 goes digital

With all the current uncertainty for people, travel and gatherings, due to Coronavirus, the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) has decided to run next year’s event online. And to stimulate debate in the sector between now and January, it is running a series of Bitesize webinars.

OFC Bitesize runs monthly, via the OFC website, drawing opinion from different businesses and geographies, chaired by its directors.

OFC 2021 Chair, Sally Williams said: “Since the OFC started in 1936, other than the war years, it has been held annually ever since so 2021 will see us host our 75th conference. To commemorate the influence of the event and the speakers that we have attracted over the past nine decades, OFC Bitesize will pick a theme from a past conference and debate its sentiments.”

The headline themes include Food and Farming in a Changing World (1961), The Shape of Things to Come (1965) and Farming Under Pressure (1971).

“People keep saying that Covid has brought us an unprecedented time, this may, or may not be true, but what we all do know is that there is likely to be a new normal after this pandemic that will force change,” she adds. “As a young dairy farmer, I’m both nervous and optimistic about the future; my overriding hope is that we learn from these times and agriculture rises up the agenda.”

Given the OFC’s charitable status, Ms Williams said the OFC Council had to make the decision about cancelling the 2021 conference now: “We run the event at break-even or a slight loss, so we couldn’t have the uncertainty of booking Oxford University, only for us to have to cancel. While disappointed at not being able to hold a physical conference, we are very excited at the possibilities afforded to us by taking the conference fully virtual.”

Taking place on Thursday 7th January, the 2021 OFC digital conference will include all the essential items delegates have come to expect, including the politics, inspiring farmers, the Frank Parkinson Lecture, and the OFC Debate, with online networking and Q & A.

OFC Bitesize will be hosted at lunchtime on the first Thursday of every month offering a free one-hour webinar. The next session is on 2nd July. Go to OFC Bitesize to register and view the full schedule.

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