Population control to be debated at OFC 2011

The political and moral minefield of population control will be debated at the 2011 Oxford Farming Conference running from 4-6 January 2011.

Professor Aubrey Manning, Emeritus Professor at Edinburgh University and Patron of the Optimum Population Trust, will set the scene in the main conference by addressing issues of global resources and our ability to feed the world.

The population debate then is met head on the evening of the 5th January with the Conference’s famed Oxford Union Debate. The motion is: "This house believes unrestrained population growth and food security are incompatible."

Proposing the motion is Jonathon Porritt CBE, Co-founder of Forum for the Future a writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development. Seconding the motion will be Angharad Evans, the winner of the 2010 Young Advocates Competition and a recent MSc graduate in International Agriculture from the Royal Agricultural College.

Opposing the motion will be Sir Paul Judge, Chairman, Schroder Income Growth Fund plc and President of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Association of MBAs and a past Chairman of Food from Britain. He will be seconded by another young debater, Richard Thomas, who has a degree in Agricultural Marketing from Harper Adams and now runs the family farm with his father. He is West Midland Area Chairman of the young Farmer’s Club.

Commenting on taking part, Angharad Evans says: "Being asked to speak at the Oxford Union is a huge honour, and something I’ve always wanted to do. The issues of food, farming and population are undeniably immense. The combination of population growth, land and water shortages along with climate change and peak oil are the challenges that our generation face. However this is the most exciting time to be in agriculture, when there is a chance to change the way we perceive food and its meaning, all while supporting the farmers and those along the food supply chain in the work that they do. This type of event is integral to highlighting the problems and finding the way towards solutions together. "

Delegates are also encouraged to contribute to the debate and there is a magnum of Champagne awarded to the winning contribution from the floor.

Ticket numbers are limited, so anyone interested in attending the Oxford Farming Conference should apply for tickets as soon as possible. For more details about the programme, for speaker biographies and to download a booking form, go to the OFC website www.ofc.org.uk.