Future of farming under the microscope at Spring Debate

 In YAS Press Releases

Farmers will be asked to consider whether they can carry on farming in the same ways they have done for decades at a Spring Debate hosted by the Future Farmers of Yorkshire at the Great Yorkshire Showground in March.

With farm input costs at an all-time high, existing farm support payments being phased out, all amid the need to feed an ever-growing population and a changing climate, Future Farmers will scrutinise whether there are better ways to farm to meet the pressing challenges of modern times.

Everyone with a stake in British agriculture is invited along to the Pavilions of Harrogate on Monday 6th March for the free event supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. The evening get-together will bring together forward-thinking farmers, vets and other industry professionals to examine the question ‘Is regenerative agriculture the future for all UK farmers?’

Regenerative agriculture can be summed up as farming in a way that nurtures healthy soil, functioning ecosystems and reduces chemical inputs, says Nikki Yoxall, one of the farmers who will join the panel at the Spring Debate.

Nikki works as a grazier in Aberdeenshire and collaborates with landowners to help them achieve regenerative goals. She uses her cattle as ‘ecological engineers’ to boost plant species diversity, habitat creation and carbon sequestration.

Nikki said: “All farmers work to annual cycles, and being so connected with the seasons is one of the perks of the job. However, if we continue to do the same things at the same time as we have always done, in a climate that’s changing and in the face of market volatility, it stands to reason that we will come unstuck.

“As our climate, society and ecosystems become more dysfunctional and unpredictable, we will have to look to shifting our collective mindset to one where we embrace regeneration, restoration and our capacity to adapt.”

Nikki will be joined on the Spring Debate panel by Alastair Trickett, who runs a mixed arable and sheep farm near Leeds. Alastair is a Yorkshire Agricultural Society sponsored 2020 Nuffield Scholar whose studies examined how corporate supply chains support farmers to adopt regenerative agriculture. Alastair is also a co-founder of Grassroots Farming to supply beef from regenerative farms to restaurants.

Farmers Doug Dear and Bradley Sykes are also on the panel which will be chaired by Farmers Weekly Editor, Andrew Meredith.

Doug is the fourth generation at Osgodby Grange near Selby, where his family run arable and feedlot businesses, and farm across 2,200 acres. Bradley, who is a member of the Future Farmers of Yorkshire Management Board, operates a contracting and farming business, growing over 900 acres of potatoes for McCain and Walkers, and contract farms a pea vining operation.

The Spring Debate is the latest event organised by the Future Farmers of Yorkshire to support its members. Nick Grayson, Chair of the Future Farmers of Yorkshire said all are welcome along to the event: “Future Farmers is all about empowering the farmers of Yorkshire with knowledge transfer to be able to succeed in their industry.”

The Future Farmers of Yorkshire’s Spring Debate, sponsored by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and McCain Foods, takes place on Monday 6th March at Pavilions of Harrogate at the Great Yorkshire Showground, starting with supper at 7pm.

Click here for more details about the speakers and to register for a free place with supper 

Nikki Yoxall

Nikki Yoxall



  • The Future Farmers of Yorkshire brings together younger farmers, vets and industry professionals. To join the group, contact: futurefarmers@yas.co.uk
  • Registered charity, Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS) supports and promotes the farming industry through health care, business, education and funding scientific research into rural affairs.
  • YAS is supported by its family of businesses including Fodder, Yorkshire Event Centre, Pavilions of Harrogate and the Harrogate Caravan Park as well as events Great Yorkshire Show and Springtime Live.


Jo Francisco, PR Manager

07954 007414



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