Inspirational talks by experts from across the global dairy and beef sectors impressed Reaseheath delegates who attended this week’s virtual conference run by the British Cattle Breeders Club.
Genetics, health management, understanding customers’ needs and solutions to climate change were among wide ranging topics in an inspirational programme which also featured Q & A sessions and the opportunity to hear and speak with three young people who are leading the way in agriculture.
University Centre Reaseheath had secured access to the conference and addresses from three keynote speakers were watched live and discussed by Foundation Degree in Agriculture undergraduates who were then able to rejoin the programme and learn more about subjects which will be built into later study. Access to HE and Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture students, lecturers and farm staff were also able to access the programme.
Our undergraduates looked at the future trends and demands of the market place and the impact Covid-19 has had on these with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s Consumer Insight Manager Susie Stannard. They also joined cheese producers Peter and Johnny Alvis of Lye Cross Farm for an insight into understanding customers’ needs and heard Farmers Weekly’s 2019 Dairy Farmer of the Year Will Frost describe the challenges and achievements of producing 10% of the UK’s total goat milk from his large scale goat enterprise.
Forced by Covid-19 restrictions to move to online delivery, BCBC organisers had used technology to gain access to speakers from around the world including leading academics from the Universities of California and Florida, and from industry experts in Australia. Feed efficiency testing, rearing wagyu for beef, genome editing and climate neutrality were just some of the subjects discussed.
Clare Spendelow, a former Access to HE student who is now in the first year of her Foundation Degree in Agriculture, said: “This was a really enjoyable and informative day. I found that the presentations really helped to expand on some of the taught modules of my degree. They also gave me a better understanding of aspects of farming, business and biology which are being put into practice within the sector today to secure the future of British dairy and beef production.”
Course Leader Tom Furness added: “The virtual conference has been an excellent way of continuing our engagement with the agricultural industry while students continue to work remotely. Both staff and students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and were pleased to be able to support the conference in these uncertain times. Well done to the BCBC team.”