Conference set to offer insights into farm businesses in lowlands of East Anglia
PUBLISHED: 12:10 01 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:17 01 March 2019
Around 100 farm secretaries from all over the country will be gathering in Suffolk for what's likely to be a very well-organised weekend.
Staff who form the backbone of every farm enterprise will be taking part in the 50th annual national conference of the Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators (IAgSA) over the weekend of March 8 to 10.
The Suffolk branch of IAgSA, headed by Jenny Pine, is playing host to the prestigious event, which this year will shine a spotlight on farm diversifications.
Suitably, it will take place at the Stoke-by-Nayland Hotel Golf Spa and Lodges, set on the Suffolk/Essex border deep in Constable country, which is itself an off-shoot of a family fruit farm enterprise.
Also under scrutiny will be Making Tax Digital as farm secretaries get to grips with ever-changing farm bureaucracy, and legal issues relating to farm property, tenancies and employment.
During a packed schedule of events, farm secretaries, who will be travelling from as far as Cornwall and Scotland to attend, will get to hear speakers including National Farmers’ Union (NFU) deputy president Guy Smith and former government farming minister Jim Paice, IAgSA’s out-going patron.
There will also be a presentation from Alastair Leake of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and journalist and film-maker Susie Emmett, who will be enlightening delegates about how other nationalities view UK approaches to PR and marketing.
The theme of the event, under national chairman Sally Lemonius, will be the ‘Bigger Picture’ and will look at farming businesses in the lowlands of East Anglia.
Ms Pine said she and her six-strong team were excited, and felt it should be a “fun weekend”, with time to catch up with old colleagues and latest industry developments. “It has been a lot of work, but things like Dropbox make it a heck of a lot easier – and the fact we are all administrators and a whizz with spreadsheets.”
Farm secretaries had a stoic attitude which helped, she said. Setting the conference in different places each year meant there was always something to learn, she added. “You go to venues you never would have gone to on holiday and you learn a lot about agriculture in that region.”