This article by Jeremy Moody first appeared in the CAAV e-Briefing of 30th June 2022
The CAAV held its annual National Conference and AGM last week in Liverpool as a physical event for the first time in three years with all the opportunities this gives for members and the life of the Association. With the warm sunny weather that has often accompanied it, members and guests in pre-pandemic numbers met on the regenerated waterfront at Liverpool and visited the Earl of Derby’s Knowsley Estate in the city’s urban fringe. Partners saw more of the city and its Maritime Museum on Friday.
With today’s rich choice of possible topics, the Friday conference, chaired by President Andrew Coney, focused on the challenges of climate change and biodiversity for farming, rural land management and the profession. The facilities adopted with the pandemic enabled over 60 members to join the conference remotely as did Tom Bradshaw, NFU Deputy President, prevented from attending by the rail strike, but still giving his opening address to the hall. Jason Jordan, managing the Knowsley State, reviewed its issues, including those for its “fleet” of older let properties. Ben Briggs, editor of Farmers Guardian, gave views of and from Lancashire, one of the UK’s most varied farming counties. Rosie Wilson of Peel Estates, a major developer and investor in the area, set out how it was approaching points from house building to biodiversity. Ben Sharples of Michelmores looked at issues for agreements over land use, such as for biodiversity net gain. Charlie Ireland of Ceres Rural finished the morning with the views of an agricultural valuer and farming adviser.
In the afternoon, Jeremy Moody reviewed issues raised in the morning. Outlining the impact of, mitigation of and adaption to climate change, he pointed to the scale of change required needing early considered action. Owners and farmers needed objective, considered advice from members as to where value, risk and opportunity really lay – “All that glisters is not gold”.
More than a professional conference, achievement and office are collectively marked. Success in November’s CAAV examinations was recognised with the RASE Talbot-Ponsonby prize for top marks to Leanne Graves and the award to Emma Greig as runner up.
Members gathered in the AGM for the election of the new Presidential Team: Simon Alden receiving the President’s jewel. Malcolm Gale of Staffordshire became Senior Vice President and Martin Hall, from Scotland, the Junior Vice President.
Sociability and fellowship were once more an integral part The event opened with an evening in the Cavern Club while the Annual Dinner was concluded by John Sergeant with a speech and questions after the President auctioned Lancashire cheeses for RABI. Afterwards, the bar closed at 4am.
Yesterday, the Climate Change Committee issued its progress report with acerbic comments on the little progress on greenhouse gas reductions from agriculture and land use since 2008, alongside slow progress in the productivity improvement that could ensure food while releasing land to act as a sink for emissions. These challenges remain to be tackled – the point of the Conference.
Next year’s Conference will be in Oxford for that same mix of fellowship and professional discussion, sociability and celebration on 6th and 7th
July – hold the date.