Young Farmers back at County Show with live debate

Torbay Weekly

A prestigious annual agricultural debate is to be staged in front of a live audience at the Devon County Show for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

The Devon Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs will be bringing together leading experts from farming and agriculture to tackle the key issues facing the industry.

The agri-debate is supported by leading rural insurer NFU Mutual and will take place on Saturday July 3 at 10.30am. It traditionally draws large crowds to the Devon YFC marquee including royalty, ministers and MPs.

This first ‘in-person’ debate since 2019 will ask; ‘Will smarter technology produce smarter farmers?’

It will be chaired by David Fursdon, Lord Lieutenant of Devon. Leading figures from the South West who will be on the panel include Devon YFC Chairman Matt Darke, a fourth generation farmer who works on his family’s mixed farm in South Devon, along with Duchy College Farms’ Assistant Farm Director James Wilson, who oversees the teaching and research institute’s new Future Farm project.

They will be joined by Devon NFU County Chairman Richard Tucker, a dairy farmer from Tiverton, and Sally Nicholls, owner of RSJ Farm Business Services and member of the Devon YFC Board of Management.

Matt, Devon YFC Chairman, said: “Nothing beats the buzz and atmosphere of the show in real life. We have used new technology in all enterprises on our family farm to grow and improve the business. We have previously invested in milking robots and found ourselves turning tail on this high tech system and installing a rotary parlour to expand our dairy enterprise. It will be interesting to hear the rest of the panel’s thoughts on how new technology is changing our industry, and whether this is the answer to all our questions!

Mr Fursdon said: “New technology is playing an increasingly important role in the development of the agricultural industry, so it’s only fitting that the next generation of farmers in Devon are tackling this topic.”

All Covid-compliant procedures will be in place at the event, which can accommodate up to 70 people.