Kleffmann Group co-sponsors the UK Institute of Agricultural Management Conference
London, November 2016
Over 150 delegates arrived in the rather grand setting of the Royal Society building in central London for the 2016 National Conference of the Institute of Agricultural Management (IAgrM) - a professional body for those engaged in agricultural and rural management.
A diverse mix of delegates from Defra, Levy bodies, Input suppliers, Academia, Retailers, Financial institutions, Farmers and a wealth of other stakeholders packed the lecture hall for a range of sessions under the Conference theme “UK World Class Farming/World Class Food”. The morning and afternoon sessions covered:
“Making the most by producing the best”
“How World class are we now and where we need to be for the future”
Key speakers were:
- Jane King Chief Executive, AHDB
- Richard Tiffin Director, Centre of Agricultural Informatics & Metrics of Sustainability, Agri Tech Strategy
- Richard Price Director of Farming and Commercial Events at Lowther
- Ekkehard Herrmann Farmer and manager of large co-op farms in Germany
- Helen Browning Organic farmer and Chief Executive of the Soil Association
- Martin Dyke Business Development Director, AB Connect &
- John McCurdy Head of Agri Data services, AB Agri
- Neil Adams Agri food business consultant, Promar International
- Ed Salt Managing Director, Delamere Dairy
- Cedric Porter Director, Supply Intelligence
- Mark Suthern Head of Agriculture, Barclays Agriculture
- Evening Reception:
- Karl Schneider, Editorial Development Director, Farmers Weekly
Roger Pratchett (IBR-Ltd) our UK Alliance partner and a member of the IAgrM ( https://www.iagrm.org.uk/ ) arranged for Kleffmann Group (KG) to be one of the sponsors of the event, with the primary objective of building on last year’s success and raising the profile of KG as the Global reference for Agri-input information.
Upon arrival at the event, delegates were given the now familiar vibrant green Kleffmann branded bag (as used at Agritechnica in DE) which contained a USB with the corporate presentation on it. The event organisers also placed other conference literature in the bags.
Caroline Farwick, Managing Director Germany & Regional Manager Western Europe Kleffmann Group, joined Roger at the event to represent the management of the Kleffmann Group.
The KG Marketing team will have been pleased to note during one of the coffee breaks that the KG branded bags were very visible and remained so throughout the day. Most were taken home by delegates.
Key themes from the conference revolved around the changing habits of consumers and the need for the agri-food sector to adapt to the market. Marked changes were being highlighted in UK consumption of key stables such as potatoes, bread and some meats, the drive of convenience with pressure on meals with longer cook/preparation time. The consumer behaviour is reshaping the retail landscape with growth in convenience, discount and online shopping.
Delegates were encouraged to look at the rise of the middle classes in developing countries which will fuel demand.
It wasn’t long before the dreaded Brexit word was mentioned and the relationship between the UK and its European markets and the dependency of the UK agricultural trade sector on its near neighbours. Farm incomes being heavily supported by a variety of support payments which will be under review.
Market volatility in commodity prices, simply added to grower’s uncertainty.
Jane King the opening speaker Chief Executive of the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) suggested the industry need to Focus on competitiveness and accept the inevitable consolidation that will need to occur. Focussing on the supply chain from end to end, to harness technology / skills to grow productivity. A need to be in tune with consumers to understand, anticipate and deliver what consumers will buy. And overall to develop a degree of resilience to economic and other shocks.
A key message was that “top performing farm businesses are often marginally better at everything rather than being significantly better at anything”
A great many very interesting presentations were made on the day, with touched on many similar themes. BIG data was another topic and the challenges surrounding growers in the use and interpretation of the mass of data that oozes from their businesses and associated supply chains, whether from satellites, livestock management tools, agronomic inputs in field, economic data, production systems etc. etc.
What was required was perhaps no more data but more actionable insights to aid better decision making.
And critically for Farmers to accommodate further analytical data there must first be “Quick simple derived benefits on farm, which will drive adoption of further data analysis” – a lesson for Kleffmann Group and others – better to get something simple off the ground than over complicating something that will never fly!
Independent Business Resource Ltd
Alliance Partner UK & IE
2nd December 2016