Search for Right Farming Balance at Spring Debate

 In YAS Press Releases

Navigating a new era of environmentally incentivised farm payments is top of the agenda at the Future Farmers of Yorkshire’s Spring Debate on the evening of Tuesday 19th March 2024.

‘Food and Nature: Finding The Right Balance’ is the timely topic of the annual gathering at Pavilions of Harrogate at the Great Yorkshire Showground. The Spring Debate comes at a time when new UK agricultural policies are impacting farm incomes, and a new Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is opening up to reward farmers for practices that help produce food sustainably and protect the environment.

Future Farmers of Yorkshire is supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and is a thriving network of more than 1,000 farmers, vets and other industry professionals. Registration for the network’s Spring Debate is free and everyone with a stake in British agriculture is welcome. The event starts with supper at 7pm, before the debate begins at 7.30pm.

Nick Grayson, a South Yorkshire tenant farmer and Chair of Future Farmers of Yorkshire, said: “There is much to unpick amid concerns about where profitable food production fits in as support payments become more environmentally incentivised. This is a great chance to be part of a meaningful discussion and cut to the heart of what these changes mean to you.”

A panel of respected industry professionals will be sharing their thoughts on the topic at the Spring Debate and will take part in a Q&A.

The line-up includes Paul Temple, a third-generation tenant farmer from East Yorkshire. A former Vice President of the NFU amongst other high-profile appointments, Paul is currently Vice Chair of the Global Farmers Network, co-chairs the United Nations Environmental Projects Farmers Major Group, and is a board member of the Science for Sustainable Agriculture think-tank.

Nuffield Scholar Jo Franklin will share insights from her farming journey. Jo was working as an agronomist alongside running her family’s arable farm and contracting business until Jo and her partner Rob set up on their own in 2014 as ‘Kaiapoi’. This mixed sheep and arable farm in North Hertfordshire comprises of a 2,500 New Zealand Romney stud flock, 800 acres of permanent pasture and 1,600 acres of arable cropping. A sheep dairy was added in 2022, milking 300 ewes.

Mike Powley, a third-generation livestock and arable farmer based at Oak House Farm in Green Hammerton will explain how he is embracing regenerative agriculture principles, managing the land in a way which reduces input costs and usage and cuts the farm’s carbon footprint.

Also joining the panel is Bernie Davies, Rewilding and Regenerative Land Manager for Denton Park Estate near Ilkley where he is focused on producing the highest quality of food through rewilding and regenerative methods.

Fiona Tweedie will Chair the debate. Having spent seven years as a Yorkshire-based farm business consultant, Fiona is able to draw on her experiences of providing advice to farmers on conservation, grant schemes, reducing diffuse pollution from agriculture and managing ecosystems on farms.

As well as hearing from an inspiring panel of speakers about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, the evening is a sociable occasion and a great opportunity to network with other forward-thinking farming people.

Nationally recognised, Future Farmers offers a year-round programme of activities to further the personal and professional development of people in the industry, providing a platform for debate and networking, and training and bursary opportunities.

Already this year, Future Farmers have taken up bursary places to attend big industry events such as the Oxford farming conferences, the National Farmers’ Union Conference and AHDB’s AgriLeader Forum. Training workshops have covered financial management and mental health, and a delegation of Future Farmers recently visited Westminster where they were granted an audience to quiz DEFRA Under Secretary of State Robbie Moore, MP for Ilkley and Keighley.

For more details about Future Farmers of Yorkshire and to register for a free place at the Spring Debate on Tuesday 19th March, see


Mike Powley Panelist at the Future Farmers of Yorkshire Spring Debate


  • The Future Farmers of Yorkshire brings together younger farmers, vets and industry professionals. To join the group, contact:
  • 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.

Ben Barnett
YAS Public Relations Officer
T: 01423 546016

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search

New and emerging opportunities for rural businesses