As a long time member if the Institute and Chartered Environmentalist I thought I would experience my first Institute AGM and lunch. On arrival I was greeted by some familiar faces such as Prof. Malcolm Stansfield and John Giles. As with all AGMs there was the formalities to get through before lunch, which was held in the splendid newly refurbished Hudson Room at the Farmers Club. I always try to sit next to people I have not met before as events like this as it usually provides stimulating and thought provoking dialogue. This was no exception. The level of debate was excellent, and the collective brain power from the upper echelons of the agricultural industry was huge as there were advisers, lecturers ancillary industry representatives as well as farmers present. Topics discussed were wide ranging; for example, how Brexit may adversely affect those farm businesses in the middle two quartiles of agricultural efficiency rather than those in the bottom quartile, who live on very little and will just tighten their belts even further, whilst those in the top quartile will survive anyway. Those in the middle quartiles may have borrowed heavily to invest in their business and a down turn or recession could be very problematic. The issue of farmers not traveling much further than the farm gate and only ever talking about farming was also an interesting topic and the perception of farmers as a group which moans rather a lot also came up. The conclusion being that no one has to be a farmer if they don't really want be! The food at the Farmers Club was as good as any top restaurant in London and the company made it a most entertaining afternoon and I would recommend all members to take the opportunity to go to the events such as this organised by the Institute, you will not return home disappointed.
Andrew Brown JP, LLDip, BEng(Hons), CEnv, FRAgS, PAgric, MIAgrM