Keeping abreast of the latest news and advancements in the agricultural industry is vital to be able to deliver a strategic PR and communications campaign. Often the best way to do this is to attend leading industry events.
On 11 September, eight members of Pinstone headed to one of the biggest dairy events in the calendar - the sixth annual UK Dairy Day, in Telford, which attracted over 9,000 visitors.
Alongside the opportunity to see clients, key press and industry stakeholders, this event posed a chance to get up-to-speed with the latest news and innovation in the sector, with a series of technical seminars.
Three things we took away from the event.
Red Tractor changes all positive for farmers
This was a very well-attended seminar, where Kate Cross, dairy technical manager for Red Tractor detailed the interim changes to the Red Tractor guidelines, which are to be enforced from October 2019.
One of the main alterations is the simplification of the wording to a number of protocols, to make the guidelines applicable to all farming systems. For example, changing ‘one member of staff…’ to ‘one person…’, to incorporate those farming on a smaller scale.
Changes focused on vet and meds procedures, including ensuring farm health plans are up-to-date and farm specific. The guidelines now state health plans need to be consulted and signed off by the vet, showing the need to work in partnership on matters of herd health.
This was one of the few seminars that overran, as several attendees took part in the Q&A to clarify their concerns, showing it’s a hot topic in the sector.
Industry drive to reduce ammonia emissions
Natural England and AHDB rounded off the day of seminars, with a talk on how to reduce ammonia on-farm.
The seminar detailed DEFRA’s push to reduce ammonia emissions in the agricultural sector, in-line with government targets to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030, but the talk did leave some questions unanswered.
Speakers Alex Lowe, Natural England, and David Ball, AHDB, spoke about a range of cost-effective measures which can be implemented, such as slurry pit management, and suggested there may potential grants for future farm alterations, ranging from 60% to even 100%, but no details were given.
A number of farmers participated in the Q&A, with questions such as ‘what’s the threshold going to be for emissions?’, ‘do slurry pits need to be protected from rainfall?’ and ‘will there be a no emissions escape rule?’.
Reducing the environmental footprint of farming is a cross-sector focus, and no doubt will be a seminar topic at future events.
Positivity remains at the forefront of the dairy sector
Despite many BREXIT unknowns, the overarching feel of this year’s UK Dairy Day was positive.
Visitors listening to seminars and talking to those exhibiting were given advice and information on new products, which can help them grow their businesses.
Minette Batters, NFU Chairman, spoke at the event, saying the dairy sector needs to ‘stay positive and proud, and remember what we’re providing consumers.’ She summarised the main take-home message from the event - ‘remain dedicated to dairy.’