Event Date
breeding mixes

An event to discuss how will we secure the plant varieties needed for more sustainable UK agriculture

How will we secure the plant varieties needed for a more sustainable and resilient UK agriculture?

Can the plant breeding community rise to the challenge, and what is needed to achieve this?

The agricultural/horticultural sector is currently facing a series of complex challenges: sky-rocketing energy costs, devastating climate change effects, biodiversity loss and consumer dietary shifts to name a few. This event aims to bring together experts with a diverse range of agricultural/horticultural philosophies to explore current plant breeding frameworks and future needs in agriculture, areas of synergy and ways to improve plant breeding to ensure we have the right plants to tackle the UK’s challenges.

Join plant breeding experts for a day of fruitful knowledge exchange and creativity. In addition to speakers and expert panels participants -amongst others, Tom MacMillan (RAU), Hannah Senior (PBS), Paul Gosling (AHDB), Bruce Pearce (Garden Organic), Liz Bowles (Farm Carbon Toolkit), Charlotte Allender (University of Warwick), Katherine Denby (University of York)- , delegates will have a space to discuss a series of topics- such as traits to support resilience, business models for the 21st Century, achieving tailored varieties with limited resources, and the role of populations vs varieties- in the afternoon break-out sessions.

We believe that by bringing practitioners, researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders together, we will be able to discuss and identify future breeding priorities and the changes required to ensure our breeding programmes meet the needs of the future market and challenges of the 21st Century.



9:00 Registration

9:30 – 9:45 Welcome - Ruth Bastow (CHAP) and Jo Lewis (Soil Association)

9:45 – 10:15 Setting the scene: A tipping point for change. In this session, we explore the current agricultural landscape in the UK and the once-in-a-generation changes it is experiencing.

10:15 – 11:00 The role and potential of plant breeding. An invitation to look at current plant breeding practices, what works well and what are the limitations which should be addressed to make sure the industry is ready for a resilient future.

10:15 – 10:30 Making ‘the grade’.

10:30 – 11:00 Panel perspectives.

11:00 – 11:30 Refreshment break

11:30 -12:30 Enabling plant breeding for the future . Chaired by Liz Bowles (Farm Carbon Toolkit) An opportunity to reimagine the UK plant breeding system and explore how should it look like to make it futureproof.

11:30 – 11:45 What could the future look like?

11:45 – 12:30 Panel perspectives .

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 -15:30 Stakeholder breakout rooms. Work with us to co-design this new future, particularly from a plant breeding perspective. Bring your ideas and share your perspectives on this challenge as we seek to build potential solutions.

15:30 – 16:00 Refreshment break 

16:00 – 16:45 Feedback and action plan - Ruth Bastow and Jo Lewis Pulling the threads together, this final session shares themes from the breakout discussions and brings together the ideas from the day.

16:45 Close


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