Preparing for the farm of the future

What could it look like?

Over 125 delegates attended the Rural Hub’s first major conference, which took place on 12 March 2024 at Warwick Crop Centre.  The event was expertly chaired by Karen Ellis, who ensured all presentations kept to time.

The opening address was delivered by Tim Cox, Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, who explained his role in the county and encouraged anyone who had a suggestion for a Royal visit to contact him.

Charlie Ireland, Partner of Ceres Rural, delivered the first presentation.  Charlie spoke about recent volatility in markets, the key objectives of government and the fundamental drivers for agriculture.  He said that sustainable food production had huge opportunities and outlined the grant funding that was available.  In conclusion, Charlie saw the farm of the future as being a diversified business, with crop production on a larger scale, fewer but more technical staff, more use of technology and incentivised sustainable production.  

Charlie was followed by Jim Egan, Sustainable Farming Adviser from Kings Crops.  Jim explained how a profitable farming business could work alongside care for the environment.   He said planning was key, and believed that between 5 – 7% of a farm’s total area could be managed for wildlife without any detriment to net yield by selecting the areas that were more difficult to farm.  Jim outlined the range of private and government funding available for environmental work and felt the Sustainable Farming Incentive could work on most farms. 

The next speaker was Prof Simon Pearson of Lincoln University.  Simon concentrated on how robotics and AI might support agriculture.  He showed a video of robotic strawberry pickers but said that in the future, it would be a gradual process for technology to transform agriculture.  Human labour was likely to remain an integral part of the farming scene for some time, as it was currently difficult to replicate dexterity in robots.

Antony Pearce, Partner of Dudley Peverill, was the fourth speaker.  Antony is a 3rd generation farmer who has seen his family farm impacted by the building of HS2.  Antony shared 5 lessons in diversification; to have a clear plan and know your constraints, access professional advice, understand the likely timescales and the difficulties of maintaining momentum, manage available finance with market demands and not to be afraid of having those discussions about succession.  

Farming is an isolated profession and it’s important to practise self-care during periods of uncertainty and change – luckily we had our resident Parish Nurse Gill Fenner on hand to deliver the final presentation and be available for health checks in the margins of the conference.

Once the presentations had concluded it was time for lunch, networking with Rural Hub business supporters, a health check with Gill, a chat with the farming help charities, the County Insurance prize draw and to enjoy a test drive in an electric UTV.

Feedback about the conference has been extremely positive and Rural Hub Directors will now discuss the timings for a future event.

Thank you to everyone who supported our conference as a delegate, or by mounting a display.

You can download the copies of the presentations below.

Jim Egan presentation

Prof Simon Pearson presentation

Antony Pearce Presentation


Would you Like to

Donate to the Hub?



A donation to the Rural Hub of any amount is always gratefully received. However, only donations of over £100 can be acknowledged on our Hub Supporter's page.  A donation can be paid by cheque, BACS, standing order or by the Paypal link below.  If you would like our bank details please contact the Co-ordinator on 



Contact Us

The Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC
Archway Cottage, 2 Church Street, Marton, Rugby CV23 9RL

Tel: 07780 159291

Company Registration No: 7026157
Registered office: 23 West Bar Street, Banbury, OX16 9SA


Rural Hub


Jane Hampson

Tel: 07780 159291


Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Karen Ellis (Chair)
Amy Brant
Rosemary Collier
Emlyn Evans
Ian Jelley
Henry Lucas
Marion Perrett Pearson
Alexandra Robinson


Environmental Steering Group Members

Zoe Bell (Chair)
Tony Beysens
Meehal Grint, Kings Seeds
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Louis Phipps, Bragborough Estate
Zoe Burrows, Rookery Farm




The Warwickshire Rural Hub accepts no liability for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from any action taken in reliance on the information contained on this website.

© 2018 Warwickshire Rural Hub. All rights reserved.