Farm Minister to open BCPC Congress

At last year’s Congress, industry stakeholders started to understand the challenges and opportunities that Brexit might bring. With negotiations now underway, this theme has been extended.

The crop protection and production technology toolbox available to UK farmers has been progressively constrained under the EU Regulatory system. Will the position be any different post-Brexit and will future agricultural, environmental and associated regulation policy drive a profitable and sustainable UK agricultural sector? These are some of the key issues delegates at this year’s BCPC Congress in Brighton on 31 October – 1 November will be wanting answers to.

George Eustice, UK Minister of Agriculture is to open this year’s Congress. He will outline the latest thinking on how the UK agricultural sector will operate outside the Common Agricultural Policy. Will the opportunity for more science-based policy be taken and how will this position UK food production looking for global markets?

Dr Jon Knight from the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) will look at opportunities for radical alternatives to current crop protection practices. New technologies, including precision application, biopesticides and plant breeding for resistance, have the potential to deliver sustainable, resilient crop protection solutions – but how can these be incorporated into a sustainable farming and regulatory policy?

Picking up on how a UK crop production regulatory policy can be based on science-based decision making, Professor Steve Bradbury will draw upon his experience in the US EPA on how a system involving public participation and transparency, alongside rigorous analyses of risks and benefits, can lead to good regulatory decisions acceptable to a range of stakeholders.

Professor Lin Field of Rothamsted Research and Peter Campbell of Syngenta will address the background and next steps to help resolve the continuing hot topic of neonicotinoid pesticide restrictions.

The focus of the first morning will appeal to farm businesses looking to re-structure their farming practices for a sustainable future as well as the regulatory, scientific and food production communities.

As in previous years, Day Two will include the popular Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) workshop. Expanded this year to a half-day session, this offers an opportunity for all delegates to engage with the UK HSE (Chemicals Regulation Division) and give opinion and comment on the direction of policy and regulation.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.