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Support for biological farming systems conference

18 August 2011

Tremendous response and support for the first national conference on biological farming systems

The conference organisers have received a tremendous response and support for the first national conference on biological farming systems to be held on 27-28 October 2011 in Rotorua.

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.

The theme of the conference is “Towards a Sustainable Farming – by farmers, for farmers”. The aim is to define the science that underlies biological farming systems to encourage adoption of environmentally friendly biological farming systems by mainstream farmers, if they wish to.

“Arable resources, especially soil, affect all aspects of New Zealand life. These resources must be protected and nourished, and they will nourish the future generations of New Zealanders in return,” said Mr Malcolm Short, Chairperson of RLLT and also chairperson of conference organising committee.

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

“Almost all crown research institutes and universities are participating in the conference, either presenting papers or attending as delegates. Representatives from a number of regional councils and some New Zealand government departments are also going to be present,” said Dr Guna Magesan, conference coordinator.

“The conference aims to bring scientific and the biological farming communities (including organic and other alternative sustainable farming) closer to have a good, open discussion and share knowledge.”

Mr Gifford McFadden, a Trustee of RLLT, 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 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.

More than 150 dairy farmers, Maori land owners, soil and environmental scientists, politicians, ecologists, conservationists, land management specialists, consultants, and representatives from universities, research institutes, regional councils, fertiliser companies, analytical services, agricultural and horticultural businesses have shown interest in attending the conference.

It appears that a target of 200, the maximum seating arrangement that has been made for conference dinner and field trip, will be reached very soon.

The conference organizers have also received very positive response from a number of companies and organizations for sponsorship. Bay of Plenty Regional Council is sponsoring conference field tour.


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