Nuffield 2015 Contemporary Scholars Conference (CSC)

28th February – 7th March 2015. At Reims, France

A video of the 2015 CSC Conference can be viewed via this link

A PDF version of the conference booklet can be downloaded from this link (3.1 MB)

Presentations and photographs

Available presentations made as part of the 2015 CSC are listed below:

Photographs of the event and the battlefield tour can be viewed via this link (external site)

Videos and photographs of the event by Djûke van der Maat can be viewed via this link (external, Dropbox Carousel link)

Videos and photographs of the event by Shelley Meadows can be viewed via this link (external, Dropbox link)

Summary of presenters

Jean Pierre Beaudoin; Strategic counsellor — Burson-Marsteller i&e

In a relaxed and highly effective style, Jean Pierre communicates with the Nuffield Scholars about communication! He discussed motivations for communicating, where the farmer voice intersects with society’s and where there can be a disconnect. He encourages us not to view ourselves as part of a separate “agricultural world” but to be part of the same one that is relevant to society. The theme of telling our story comes up again, with Jean Pierre encouraging us to identify the same risks they do and align ourselves as working for them to avoid danger and provide health, safety and an undamaged environment.

Olivia Ruch; Director - Passion Céréales and Antoine Part; Profession and Territories Communication Manager – Passion Céréales

Passion Cereales is an association to inform the public about all facets of the wheat production; it represents all players in the cereal industry. The team share some of the ‘omnichannel’ communication methods they have tried.

Benoit Collard – Symbiose

Bernard discusses the organisation Symbiose, which grew out of a pre-existing network of ‘responsible farmer’. This is an association of farmers and other actors to promote biodiversity. Bernard shares some existing and planned projects.

Edwin van Raalte; Business Manager for the Executive Board of Rabobank Group

Edwin envisages a second GFC, a global food crisis, and discusses the various aspects of achieving food security on a global scale. He hones in on what is needed to increase food availability from the perspective of the farmer. This is summarised in the Rabobank publication “The Future of Farming, the Rise of the Rural Entrepreneur”. The theme of telling our story first emerges at the conference with this speaker.

Marie-Cécile Henard; Agronomist, Innovation and Markets Specialist - Saf agr’iDées

Marie-Cécile is a member of Société des Agriculteurs de France, an informal farmer-scientist network that is highly interactive around the theme of biotechnology. In her presentation she discusses a view of post GMO agricultural biotechnology, explaining that there is far more possible now than when it started and that it is expanding and now addresses a wider scope of issues. She also raises some of the difficulties associated with biotechnology in the public eye.

Marie Loyaux; Industries & Agro-Ressources (IAR) Competitivness Cluster

Marie explained their ‘innovative ecosystem’ concept - one of bringing together a network of actors in a specific territory (2 French provinces) to support innovation in developing products and technologies, establishing partnerships and creating an on-going favourable environment for further innovation in adding value to ‘biomass’. Actors include entities representing agriculture, agro-industries, chemical industries, processing industries, distributors, educators and end-users.

Olivier de Bohan; President of Cristal Union & President of Foundation Jacques de Bohan

Olivier set the scene for the afternoon’s field trip to the bio refinery of Bazancourt-Pomacle, a campus of industrial and research ventures that demonstrates a strong commitment from farmers over many years. With the aim of ensuring there is a future for farmers’ crops the campus aims for integration and synergies. It incorporates the following aspects: food and feed industry; biofuels and feed; specialty chemicals; fine chemicals; private research with its own demo unit; industrial pilot start-ups; hosted academic research; and training. We visited the original ethanol plant and the 2nd generation pilot plant which aims to deconstruct lignocellulose in order to economically produce ethanol from non-fool ‘waste’ sources.

Herve Pillaud; Vice President of the Local French Farmers’ Federation of Vendée (FDSEA)

Herve discusses digitalisation of information about animal, ground, plant and engines – all dedicated to decision – makers. How can information better inform real-time decisions? He also discusses the use of digital technology in risk management and innovations such as crowd funding.

Laurent Journaux; General Secretary of France Génétique Elevage

Laurent was our host at the “Salon International de l'Agriculture’ – the Paris Agricultural Show we attended before the conference He discussed genomic selection, sexed semen and precision farming – examples of innovations that are separately and together changing the face of the French dairy industry.

Pascal Poitevin; Secretary - France Génétique Elevage

Pascal discussed connectivity, provision and use of data. He raised the philosophical question of who owns the data provided and held when agricultural information systems involve increased data exchanges, and when new data platforms have been generated. He sees a need to implement a trusted third party model. He discussed possibilities of knowledge transfer being augmented, but with the need to take into account societal and economical impacts.

Arnaud Petit, Director of the team “Commodities and Trade” - Copa-Cogeca

The organisation COPA – COGECA is a network of eastern and central European producers and their cooperatives that work to promote policies that are favourable to European agriculture with, as far as possible, one ‘voice of agriculture’. Arnaud explained some history of the Common Agriculture Policy of the European Union and its evolution over time, including both productive/economic and social aspects. He also discussed some challenges facing European agriculture now and into the future and the relationship of those challenges to policy.

Adrien Guichaoua; Head of the European Affairs – ACTA France

Adrien described ACTA, a levy funded private non-profit organisation formed from a network of 15 technical institutes with a ‘pan agriculture’ scope. He also explains the European Commission’s new innovation device: The European Innovation Partnership, which is focused on productive & sustainable agriculture. It is a re-imagination of existing funding and networks, aiming via facilitation and support to better connect research with the ‘end-users’.

Frédéric Thomas; Farmer and Conservation Agriculture in France and Europe

In a country that has areas that been cropped for hundreds of years, soil condition is a preeminent concern. Frédéric passionately, and with many illustrative photos, describes the change in thinking and practice that has led to growing areas no longer being ploughed, receiving minimum or no tillage, and interspersing main crops with cover crops. He was frank about the time it can take to reap the rewards and some of the challenges, such as slugs, but is both convinced and convincing that this is a revolution that needs to happen! Frederic talks further about the on-going innovation in Conservation Agriculture, such as use of animals on cover crops and perennial cover crops. He describes a creative and adaptable agriculture, full of new ideas, solutions and innovations.

Pierre Rolland; Member of the Geosys executive board

Pierre tells us about the international company Geosys, which has as its mission to “Provide decision support tools with agronomic and geographic information to help professionals make better decisions in a complex agriculture system.” He gives insight into what “Big Data” entails, how it is structured through some specific large agribusinesses and an example of satellite captured imagery being used in crop husbandry decisions.

Michael Ehmann; President - Nataïs

Michael shared the story of his company Natais – its origins with him as a crop farmer, his vision to grow and develop the value chain, some growing pains and its status today as a major player in world popcorn production, processing and marketing. Michael’s story is candid and inspirational.

Pierre Martin, Fanny Mingam & Geraldine Weber-Budd; BIO3G l’Agronome

With a collaborative tag-team approach, the three presenters from Bio3G aptly communicated aspects of leadership that are valued and cultivated within their company.

Pierre Pagesse; MOMAgri

Pierre describes the think tank that is MOMAgri, founded in 2005. He relates their conviction that the challenges of food security and plant chemistry can be met via innovation and collaboration. Based on the premise that food security is a ‘world good’, he sees a place for an international agricultural policy.

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