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Agricultural Advisory Service – Outlook Conferences 20 November 2009

As part of the Department’s Agricultural Advisory Service’s Advisory Strategy, a series of sector specific ‘Outlook Conferences’ have been held this autumn, to look at the whole food chain from the farm onwards. These conferences have considered at what the future in each sector of agriculture in the island might look like over the next 5 years, what markets the relevant food processors were looking to target, and how producers could best align themselves with the marketplace whilst maximising efficiency and profitability.

There have been three meetings held to date, for each of the sectors of Beef, Sheep and Dairy, with one meeting still to run for the arable sector being held next Thursday (26th November, 1pm) at St. Johns Mill, Tynwald Mills. Each meeting has had a similar format, with an invited expert speaker describing the global trends of production, consumption and market dynamics per sector, followed by a detailed analysis of the local market requirements by the local food processors (Isle of Man Meats and Isle of Man Creamery; Laxey Glen Mills at the arable meeting next week), and closed by one of DAFF’s agricultural advisers looking at how individual farmers can react at a farm level to meet the needs of the marketplace, improve technical efficiency, and improve business management.

In a bit of a departure for the Advisory service, all of the meetings were held in the afternoon rather than the evening. Commenting on the conferences Minister, Phil Gawne MHK noted “the very good attendances at the meetings so far has reinforced the professional image of Manx farming businesses, and farmers’ belief in the future of food and farming in the Isle of Man.”

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