03 Mar 2020
Opportunities aplenty at Energy & Rural Business Show
With 48% of farmers planning to set up or expand diversification enterprises, add to this the government’s strategy to phase out direct payments, to be replaced by a system based heavily on environmental support, Energy and Rural Business Show comes at a key time for farmers looking to diversify their income with sustainable projects. Taking place for the first time at the East of England Arena, Peterborough, on 3 and 4 March, and celebrating 11 years of success in 2020, the event is pitched as the ‘One stop shop for farmers looking to maximise their assets with low-emission, renewable and sustainable solutions.’ According to a recent report form NFU Mutual, 56% of farms have already diversified and in 2018/19 there has been a 6% rise of total income from diversified activities, which amounts to £740M. “The latest version of the Agricultural Bill states that farmers will be paid through taxpayer funds to deliver ‘public goods’ including payments for cleaner air and water and improved soil health, and the recently issued Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report encourages a system where land-based emissions are slashed and low-carbon farming practices are encouraged,” explains David Jacobmeyer, Energy and Rural Business Show director. “Energy and Rural Business Show has always been about providing profitable diversification options for farmers, with a heavy focus on renewable energy, now that the event has evolved, this includes farm diversification and low emission vehicles,” says David. Run in association with the CLA and NFU Energy, the event incorporates three Expos in one show, including Energy Now Expo, Rural Business Expo and Low Emission Vehicle Expo and is free to attend. Energy and Rural Business Show highlights The Debate For the first time, the show is launching a debate on ‘Achieving net zero in agriculture’, chaired by Olivia Midgley, head of news and business at Farmers Guardian, which will see industry experts discuss key topics and questions submitted by farmers on the run up to the event. A dedicated AD forum The show will host an open forum for existing AD plant owners and operators to discuss ways to optimise and enhance the performance of their plants. A panel of industry experts will answer queries on key areas including feedstocks, plant operation, optimising yields and process, digestate management, and CO2. New conference sessions: - Identifying and maximising the value of agri-outputs and waste streams - Energy and environmental management Confirmed headline speakers for the show include: - Indra Thillainathan, senior analyst, agriculture and land use, The Committee on Climate Change, will present on ‘The contribution of UK agriculture and land use to deliver net zero by 2050’ - Nina Skorupska, CEO, Renewable Energy Association (REA), speaking on ‘The UK’s low carbon energy sector post-Brexit' - Lucy Hopwood, director and lead consultant, NNFCC, speaking on maximising waste and agri output streams on ‘Where's the value? A rundown of some of the outputs to consider’ - Stephen Briggs, head of soil and water at ‘Innovation for agriculture’ will present on the pressing issue of ‘Soil carbon management’ - Mark Broadmeadow, principal adviser climate change, Forestry Commission, will present on ‘Woodland creation, the associated opportunities and environmental benefits’ Rural Business Expo Rural Business Expo features ‘How-To’ workshops from expert speakers and case studies from those who have diversified their businesses and can offer guidance, as well as exhibitors with refreshingly practical and robust diversification propositions. Topics in the Rural Business Expo ‘How-To’ workshops include: - Holiday letting - Financial planning - Cultivating hemp - Glamping - Hosting weddings - Diversification trends - Opportunities for energy projects - Succession planning - Profitable crop alternatives - Organics - Diversification for arable farmers - Tax planning - Archery - Land-use planning Low Emission Vehicles Expo The Low-Emission Vehicles Expo will include conference sessions covering policy, support, opportunities, and technology updates. The latest low-carbon vehicles and machinery will be on display and test drives are available on the new test track.