4 January 2018

Agroforestry at the Oxford Real Farming Conference

Final conference Brussels

The Oxford Real Farming Conference takes place in the UK in the first week of January. This year it hosted a question and answer session with Michael Gove, the UK Minister of State for Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. During the session Michael Gove highlighted the low tree cover in the UK, the public benefits provided by trees, and his interest in the 4/1000 initiative to ensure that agriculture plays its part in combating climate change.

 The benefits of trees on farms were also examined in a following session on agroforestry and the role of trees in improving the lives of livestock. Liz Bowles from the UK Soil Association chaired a session to a packed council chamber where people were turned away because of the lack of room. David Brass from the Lakes Free Range Egg Co described the benefits of trees for free-range egg production. Ted Green from the Ancient Tree Forum described the benefits of tree fodder. Andy Smith from Bangor University described recent research examining the benefits of tree shelter on sheep productivity. Lastly Paul Burgess, from Cranfield University and the AGFORWARD project, gave a talk on “Agroforestry for livestock farmers – lessons from the AGFORWARD project". This highlighted the importance of agroforestry, the benefits for animal welfare and seasonal pasture production, and the wider societal advantages.

Burgess, P., Hermansen, J.E., Smith, J., Bestman, M., Luske, B., Novak, S., Konsted, A.G. Mosquera Losada, M.R., Bondesan, V., McAdam, J. (2018). Agroforestry for livestock farmers – lessons from the AGFORWARD project. Presentation at the Oxford Real Farming Conference, Oxford, UK. 4 January 2018.

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