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OFC: Increasing Productivity in British Farming through Research

07 January 2015

UK - Increased productivity in British agriculture is directly related to research and development and to raise productivity the UK farming sector needs to focus more on both public and private research, reports Chris Harris from the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC).

This is one of the main conclusions from a report “The Best British Framers – What Gives them the Edge?” for the Oxford Farming Conference conducted by the Anderson Centre.

The report says that spending a greater proportion of research funds on near-market or translational research will provide the support to apply the research to industrial requirements.

The report adds that this will also help to attract more private funds to research.

The Anderson Consulting report says that the DairyNZ initiatives for farm performance measurement such as Dairy Base have been very successful and have significant farmer participation, providing a mechanism for farmers to compare and use information.

The report says that the focus in the UK should be on top and middle sectors of farm operations and non-farming investors should be encouraged to own land by maintaining tax reliefs and encouraging letting the land to young farmers and new entrants into the sector.

The report says that ultimately the success or growth of a farm business is down to individual entrepreneurs and while support is available in various guises, these entrepreneur farmers need to focus on making their own decisions and recognise the opportunities that are available to them.

Richard Whitlock, chairman of the 2015 Oxford Farming Conference, [pictured above] said: “Our report wholeheartedly acknowledges that Britain has some world class farmers, but that, as a whole, our farming industry is lagging behind other countries and we must make bold strides to becoming more globally competitive.

“The research repeatedly highlighted that what separates the best from the rest is an individual’s receptiveness to risk, their ability to save cost whilst raising output and an underlying zeal for building their business.”

He added: “Britain has its fair share of very successful farming entrepreneurs, with a considerable number of them establishing their enterprises from modest beginnings or from scratch.

“If the sector is to improve its global competiveness, there are some fundamental ‘must haves’ that we must collectively address, such as lowering the barriers to land occupation, increasing the number of joint ventures and giving young farmers, who are often more eager to build their businesses – their chance to farm.”

Chris Harris

Chris Harris





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