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Top Speakers Lined Up for Beef Expo

04 May 2012

UK - BBC Countryfile’s Adam Henson, Natural England Chair Poul Christensen, FAI Farms Director Mike Gooding and ABP Director Stuart Roberts will bring this year’s Beef Expo to a standstill.

Due to growing popularity, the 2012 Question Time panel will take over the main ring at Beef Expo on May 24th, held at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire, and sponsored by Lloyds TSB Agriculture.

Last year’s Question Time pulled in such a crowd the show’s seminar marquee was overrun with visitors wanting to question and listen to guest speakers, explains Paul Westaway, Chairman of Beef Expo 2012.

“This year we have another cracking line-up of panel members,” he says. “So to accommodate the huge swell of visitors wanting to be involved, the National Beef Association has decided to create a break and halt the main arena livestock competition programme at 1pm to accommodate Question Time.”

With strong demand for cattle, concern over supply, rocketing input costs and frustration over bovine TB among producers’ concerns, there will be a wealth of experience among panel members to put producers in the picture, suggests Mr Westaway, who will chair the Question Time session.

This year’s panel members are:

Poul Christensen CBE is a partner in a family-run dairy farm in Oxfordshire and also chairs Natural England, the Government-backed scientific advisory and monitoring body. Natural England’s role in co-ordinating the licensing of farmer-led badger cull projects and reporting back to Parliament on progress and efficacy will be key in determining the future well-being of cattle welfare and financial welfare of affected producers.

Mike Gooding is a director of FAI Farms, the Oxfordshire-based international farming, advisory and education specialist. On a practical level the company operates across 668ha alongside the River Thames, running 120 sucklers, 1,000 ewes and 100ha of animal feed crop trials. The international context of FAI Farms’ operation will provide a worldwide perspective for visitors.

BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson has become a face of modern farming to the British public. A partner in Gloucestershire-based Cotswold Farm Park – run with business partner Duncan Andrews and set up by father Joe Henson – he farms 650ha with suckler cows, a commercial sheep flock and a range of arable crops under his care. His thoughts on getting UK farming’s message across to consumers will prove invaluable.

Stuart Roberts is a director of Anglo Beef Processors (ABP) and is very much aware of the issues surrounding security of supply, pricing and pressures of the retail marketplace for beef. Having been involved in the updating of carcase grading to include VIA, his thoughts on future pricing policy may prove invaluable to those finishing cattle. His role within the new Animal Health & Welfare Board for England will add another element to the questions farmers will want to ask.

“There is a huge wealth of experience among this year’s speakers,” says Mr Westaway. “Question Time will, once again, give visitors to Beef Expo a unique chance to access the collective thinking of those at the sharp end of the beef industry.

“As organiser, the NBA hopes the move to the main arena will ensure as wider audience participation as possible. It promises to be a very lively and thought-provoking session, before competitive classes resume in the afternoon.”

Details of the Question Time session and full details for Beef Expo 2012 can be found online at www.beefexpo.co.uk.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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