Long Sutton & District

Agricultural Society

- Established in 1837 -

Affiliated to the East of England Agricultural Society

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The 65th Annual Dinner
held 20th November 2013 at Whaplode Manor.

Lincolnshire Farmer Mark Leggott was guest and speaker at the Long Sutton & District Agricultural Society's 65th Annual dinner held on the 20th November at Whaplode Manor. Sixty Five members and guests from South Lincolnshire heard Mark Leggott talk about political, economic and technical developments taking place in the industry and the need to raise farming issues up the political agenda to feed the ever increasing world population.

 

 

 

Left to right, Andrew Riddington Chairman of the East of England Agricultural Society, Julian Proctor, President of the Long Sutton & District Agricultural Society, Mark Leggott, and Alan Hargreaves Chairman of the Long Sutton & District Agricultural Society

 

Mark Leggott, Lincolnshire Farmer, member of the NFU Combinable Crops and Horticulture and Potatoes Boards, PGRO Past Chairman and Chairman of the British Growers Association told the dinner of the latest developments in the succession of the new President of the NFU now that Peter Kendall has announced that he is not seeking re-election.

 

Mark Leggott said that the race for land would bring changes to the industry demand from investors has pushed land prices higher making it more difficult for family business to expend. China is short of land and wishes to ensure it can feed the population. They are securing large tracts of land in parts of Africa. An agreement has just been reached with the Ukraine to lease 5% of the land, equating to 9% of the good land. Already China buys 20% of world production of soya beans.

 

In the UK agriculture employees less than 1% of the workforce but 14% of people are employed in the food industry which is the UKs largest industry it is not an sector that should be ignored by government.

 

As an industry we are only as good as the scientists that serve us. There are wonderful research institutions across the country that produces some remarkable work. Developments in technology are needed to keep pace with the growing population in the developing world with low incomes. GM technology will bring potato cyst nematode resistance but without acceptance in Europe competitors across will be the beneficiaries.

 

Bio fuel production will continue to expand particularly in the USA where the current 12 billion gallons produced annually will rise to over 30 billion gallons. It has to be remembered that the maize used cannot be consumed directly by people and that for 1,000t of maize used to produce bio ethanol 500t of animal is produced.

 

The alternative energy uses for land for energy production using anaerobic digestion, solar and wind power are ways forward to help make farms more sustainable. There are concerns with the projects such as the 900 acre Peterborough solar farm where tenants could be evicted from farms following approval of change of use for the land. The industry needs to fight to keep access to irrigation water which is such good value.

 

Recently the 150 year trend of falling grain prices has ended. Yields are no longer increasing at the same rate having fallen from 1.6% to a 1% annual increase. GM & Genomics with resources such as the Watkins collection of 1,200 strains of wheat from the 1930s are vital tools with which improvements can be made to yield, quality, pest and disease resistance.

 

In Europe just 2 varieties of GM maize are licensed in the USA there are over 90 were the resources available for development far exceed those in Europe.

 

Julian Proctor President of the Long Sutton Agricultural Society reported on the Society's recent activities and plans for the Winter meetings and visits in 2014.

 

The Society a charity continues to provide travel grants to local schools, colleges and individuals for agricultural and horticultural visits and invites any one interested to contact the Society. The programme of meetings and visits and visits can be found on the news page of the website.

 

All contents Long Sutton & District Agricultural Society 2008. All rights reserved. Registered Charity No. 212056