Commonwealth Agriculture Conference 2020

Commonwealth Agriculture Conference 2020: Circling the World

29 June – 11 July 2020

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The 29th Commonwealth Agriculture Conference will focus on improving the interaction of circular economies and agriculture in sustainability; overcoming the challenges that food production currently poses.

In July 2020 the 29th Commonwealth Agriculture Conference (CAC) will be held on the east coast of England in the historical and cultural city of Norwich, Norfolk hosted by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA). This is the first time in over a decade that the conference has come to the UK; most recently it has been held in Canada, Singapore and Zambia. This major event provides members of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC), and other interested organisations, the opportunity to meet and explore common interests and mutual problems in world agriculture.

The main conference will be held from 6-9 July 2020. This will be preceded by a regional tour, including a day at the prestigious Royal Norfolk Show – the UK’s largest two-day agricultural show in the country as well as visits to Her Majesty the Queen’s Sandringham Estate and a major research centre.  In addition to the main conference, there will also be a series of sessions for senior leaders of show societies and next generation delegates.

Preceding the main conference (5th & 6th July 2020), there will be two mini-conferences dedicated to the Next Generation and CEO delegates. These will be concentrating on how these particular groups of people will tackle the issues raised by the Conference theme; Circular Economies and Agriculture.

The Next Generation are those under the age of 40 working within agriculture or the agricultural industry. We expect around 100 such delegates to come and share their knowledge and experiences as well as coming together to take forward actions in their home nations. This will be based at the UEA with an afternoon spent at an agri-business.

The 2020 conference itself will consider how circular economies and agriculture can work together to meet global sustainability challenges. Against this background, the conference intends to contribute to this by considering the major trends that will characterise agriculture and food production over, say, the next 20 years; looking at what is already happening in meeting sustainability goals in farming – using examples drawn from across the Commonwealth; developing an understanding of ‘circular’ agriculture and how it might be applied in developed and developing countries and better understanding how agricultural associations, working jointly and separately, can make an impact now and in the future.

The pre-conference regional tour will last for five days although it does have limited numbers. The intended format is as follows:

30th June 2020 will be a day visiting the Sandringham Estate – the much-loved Norfolk country retreat of Her Majesty, The Queen. The day will include a tour of the house, grounds, the farming estate and the Queen’s private Stud.

1st July 2020 is a day spent in the picturesque county of Suffolk – famous for being the home of horseracing and the English landscape painter John Constable.  The tour includes visiting farming businesses, including Dingley Dell Pigs who produce welfare friendly pork, followed by lunch and a tour of the Suffolk Food Hall. The day will conclude with a visit to Sterling Tomatoes looking into the art and science of growing tomatoes on an industrial scale.

2nd July 2020 will be a full day at the Royal Norfolk Show, which will include lunch and VIP passes. The Show attracts around 85,000 people and contributes around £20 million to the local economy. Being one of just six Royal county shows in the country it is regularly attended by members of the Royal Family, most recently in 2019 by the Countess of Wessex, as President of the RNAA. Other Royal visitors in the past have included Her Majesty the Queen, HRH Prince Charles and HRH Prince Harry.

Showcasing the very best of the UK’s farming and agricultural industry, the show is the highlight of the Norfolk social calendar.  In 2020 livestock of all shapes, sizes, colours and breeds will be on display with a major highlight being the hosting of the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society National Show.  The show rings will feature over 800 Beef and Dairy cattle in 21 breed sections, 170 pigs across 13 breeds, over 900 sheep from 18 different breeds and 70 Dairy goats over 9 breeds. Along with the breed classes each section features Market and Showmanship classes.  There will also be over 200 equestrian classes featuring world class exhibitors and horses from around the UK, including horses from Her Majesty the Queen’s stables.  That’s on top of breath-taking outdoor displays, military bands, fine food and drink, live music, the latest in farming technology and much, much more.

3rd July 2020 will consist of a morning at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) facilities in the famous university city of Cambridge.  Famous for being a major international centre for plant science, crop evaluation and agronomy, the NIAB will provide a fascinating insight into their crucial work it undertakes in promoting agriculture and horticulture.

Sailing on The Broads, Norfolk

4th July 2020 offers a number of options for delegates which will include a visit on the Norfolk Broads – a 125 mile network of lock-free waterways and pretty towns and villages, a tour of one of the most highly regarded studs in the world – Shadwell Estate, attending the University of East Anglia’s Open Day (where the conference is being held) or simply a day of rest.