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Rural Conference to set the agenda for the Future of Farming


Speakers from across the farming industry will provide real-life experiences and insights into the challenges and opportunities for farming and agricultural businesses at Lodders’ inaugural Rural Conference.

Lodders has worked with farmers and farming businesses throughout its 230 year history, and its ‘Future of Farming’ event in Warwickshire will explore the impact of Brexit, diversification, conservation and mental health, with a line-up of guest speakers and advisers to the sector.

Taking place from 2.30pm to 5.30pm on Thursday 7th March 2019, the conference is at Swallows Nest Barn in Warwick, and the venue’s owners David and Rachel Lea will open the event with an insight into their own diversification journey that has taken them from farming to running event facilities hosting weddings and conferences.

Head of Lodders’ Rural Sector team James Spreckley will chair the conference. He explains: “This will be Lodders’ first-ever Rural Conference, and its timing coincides with one of the most significant times for the UK’s farming and countryside sectors.

“Of course, Brexit is looming, with it bringing concerns for farmers of what will happen over Defra’s financial support, the impact on the costs of inputs and the sale value of crops and livestock. So, we have drawn together a line-up of speakers from organisations including NFU, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, and Farming Community Network, to offer some clarity, reassurance and practical information on issues such as these.

“Diversifying operations continues to be one of the best and most appealing options for farmers to maximise survival,” he adds. “Through the real-life experiences of landowners and farmers who have done it themselves, the event will also explore the potential benefits of diversifying operations on farms.”


The Rural Conference’s full line-up of speakers and talks is:

  • David Lea, owner of Swallows Nest Barn with his wife Rachel, who will welcome you and touch on their diversification journey, from farming to running these event facilities.
  • Dr Alastair Leake Director from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. Alastair will consider the interplay between conservation and land management and operating a successful farming business.
  • Alison Rickett, MD of the Fresh Start Land Enterprise Centre. Alison will be discussing ways in which landowners and new land-based businesses can work together in joint ventures and thrive.
  • Dr Andrea Graham, Head of Policy Services at the NFU, will share the NFU’s insights into the future challenges and opportunities for the sector at a time of unprecedented change.
  • James Blanchard of Blanchard Enterprises, New House Farm, Southmoor. As the third generation to manage this farming enterprise, James will discuss how he has started to restructure, adapt and diversify the business since he returned to the family farm six years ago.
  • John Rouse and Jessica Beddows, both Rural Sector partners at Lodders, will discuss some current themes and issues in farm succession and tax planning
  • Charles Smith, CEO of the Farming Community Network will address mental health issues faced by members of the farming community.

More information

For more information and to reserve a place click here or email Angela Howard.

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If you’re a journalist looking for more information about Lodders, or to discuss a press release, please contact:
Diane Wood, V Formation on 07887 794507 or by email

Find out more

For more information or to reserve a place at the Lodders Rural Conference please contact Angela Howard on 01789 206928 or drop her an email.