Biological farming conference to bond scientists and farmers

Press Release – Rotorua Lakes and Lands Trust

Rotorua will witness a unique event when leading scientists and practising farmers come on the same platform to share, exchange and discuss ideas during the first national conference on biological farming systems to be held on 27-28 October 2011 at Rydges …17 October 2011

Biological farming conference to bond scientists and farmers

Rotorua will witness a unique event when leading scientists and practising farmers come on the same platform to share, exchange and discuss ideas during the first national conference on biological farming systems to be held on 27-28 October 2011 at Rydges Rotorua.

The theme of the conference is “Towards Sustainable Farming – by farmers, for farmers”.

The conference organisers have received a tremendous response and the target of 200 delegates, the maximum seating arrangement that has been made for conference dinner and field trip, has already been achieved.

The conference will be opened by Hon John Luxton, Chairman of DairyNZ. Presence of Chairperson and key managers from Dairy NZ makes this conference very important as many dairy farmers, especially from Maori community, have shown interest in moving towards biological farming systems.

A number of leading scientists from crown research institutes and universities, and farmers from different regions of New Zealand are participating and sharing their knowledge and experiences at the conference.

A number of interesting papers are being presented. For example, a study from Massey University will compare nitrate leaching from organic and conventionally farmed dairy units; scientists from Sustainable Land Use Research Initiative (SLURI) will present papers on ecosystem services, recent research on soil carbon, and soil biology focussing on earthworm diversity and abundance. A well known scientist Dr Doug Edmeades will speak on the importance of clover which is very important in a biological farming system. Similarly, a number of respected farmers will be sharing their experiences at the conference.

“My role is to bring scientific and the biological farming communities closer to have a good, open discussion and share knowledge,” said Dr Guna Magesan, conference coordinator.

Mr Gifford McFadden, Project Leader of Vallance Project (biological farming systems), said there is much interest in the farming community. The conference will provide a forum for discussion of a wide range of topics for current and future biological farming systems research, and will provide a forum for growing the status of biological farming systems in New Zealand.

The programme will include one and a half days of technical sessions of oral and poster presentations; and a half-day field trip. There are six sessions in total. The sessions include: Biological farming and water quality; Soil carbon and ecosystems; Farmers – sharing their experiences; Defining farming systems; Panel Session: Scientists-Farmers Interaction; and Biological farming – a way forward.

Over 200 dairy farmers, Maori land owners, trusts and incorporations, soil and environmental scientists, land management specialists, consultants, and representatives from universities, research institutes, regional councils, fertiliser companies, analytical services, agri-businesses and media have registered for the conference.

The conference organizers have also received very positive response from a number of companies and organizations for sponsorship, which helped us to reduce the conference fees, and to include conference tour and conference dinner as part of the registration. Bay of Plenty Regional Council is sponsoring conference field tour, while Rotorua Trust for venue and audio-visual hire. RHB Chartered Accountants sponsored a limited number of media personnel to register for the conference, worth $300 each. For conference registration, please contact admin@rotorualakesandlandtrust.co.nz

The conference is organised by the Rotorua Lakes and Land Trust (RLLT) – a joint venture between Te Arawa Federation of Maori Authorities and Rotorua/Taupo Province of Federated Farmers.

ENDS

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