Towards 2026: The Prospects for Farming and Rural Enterprise

The national and international context of farming and rural enterprise was the subject of Professor Michael Winter's presentation at this seminar held at Bicton College on 27 July.

Michael spoke about food security, highlighting the need to double food production globally by 2050 to cope with increases in population against a backdrop of pressures on key resources like oil, water and fertilisers, climate change, soil degradation and a declining growth in agricultural productivity.

He added "By 2030 the human population of the planet is expected to exceed 8.3 billion.  Ensuring global food security is therefore one of the biggest challenges facing humanity, and it can only be achieved by dramatic increases in food availability across the world.  Fundamental research in plant and animal science, sustainable agriculture, land use and ecosystem services, in addition to addressing the impact of social science on sustainable production and consumption, will be pivotal to meeting this exceptional challenge".

The seminar, held at Bicton College and organised by East Devon District Council for its councillors and staff, also featured presentations from John Varley, Estates Director of Clinton Devon Estates, Melanie Squires, Regional Director of the National Farmers' Union and David Henley, the Principal of Bicton College.

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