Oxford Farming Conference makes history with new Co-Chairs

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Oxford Farming Conference makes history with new Co-Chairs

A DIVERSE female team has been announced to jointly chair the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) – the first time in the event’s 76-year history.

Agri-food industry experts Barbara Bray and Sarah Mukherjee were appointed to the voluntary position at the end of the annual conference last month, and will lead the OFC’s charitable and industry work, including the delivery of the 2022 conference.

Both Barbara, who is Black British, and Sarah, who is British Asian, said they want to bring their combined experience to help shape the focus of the next conference, which will be a hybrid digital and physical event following the success of the online event last month.

Based in Manchester, Barbara Bray MBE is a food safety consultant and registered nutritionist driving and delivering food safety in food supply chains and developing nutrition strategy for businesses. She became an OFC Director in 2020, is a trustee for International Affairs with the Nutrition Society and sits on the food and nutrition committee for the Institute of Food Science and Technology.

She said: “During my time as Director, the UK Agricultural industry has undergone unprecedented upheaval with the dual disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit. But the OFC continues to inspire farmers to think differently and meet challenges head-on, something I’m keen to champion.” 

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Sarah Mukherjee, based in Hertfordshire, is Chief Executive of IEMA, the membership organisation for environment and sustainability professionals. Having read law at Oxford University, she worked in PR and consultancy at the House of Commons before becoming a BBC Environment correspondent for BBC TV, radio and online. More recently she was Director of Environment at Water UK and Chief Executive of the Crop Protection Association, joining the OFC as a Director in 2020.

“I’ve been attending the OFC since 1995 and, over that time, I’ve witnessed the evolution of the event, and was proud to be a part of the first-ever digital conference held this year," she said.

“We know how important networking is to the experience of Oxford and I am very much looking forward to returning to the exam halls in January 2022," she said. "The event sells-out every year so, by offering a hybrid event with some online sessions live streamed, we will be able to reach even more people than before.” said Sarah Mukherjee.

For more details about the conference, and other forthcoming events, click here.

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