Alumni play major role at Oxford Farming Conference debate

Published Tuesday, 19th June 2018 in About SRUC news

Sally williams
Sally Williams, Director of the Oxford Farming Conference, graduated from SRUC in 2009

Scotland’s Rural College will have a strong presence at The Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) debate at this year’s Royal Highland Show.

As well as OFC Director and debate organiser Sally Williams, who graduated from SRUC in 2009, but two members of the debating panel – Sarah Millar and Colin Ferguson – are also SRUC alumni. 

Sponsored by Brodies LLP, this year’s debate will focus on young people living and working in Scotland’s land-based sectors. The theme is “this house believes in paying farmers for more than food”, sponsored by Brodies LLP. It is open to the public and will take place in the Shearing Centre on Thursday 21 June at 1.30 pm.

Sarah, Farming and Land Use Manager at Soil Association Scotland, graduated from SRUC with a degree in Green Technology in 2013.

She said: “My time at SRUC was instrumental in opening my eyes to some of the global challenges that we face, including developing new fuel sources, and emerging land use debates triggered by climate change and feeding a growing global population.

“Through my career in agriculture, I have remained in contact with various parts of SRUC. As such a dynamic institution, there is always an expert on hand who is happy to share their knowledge with you.”

Dairy farmer Colin also studied at SRUC, graduating with a degree in Agricultural Science in 2009.

He said: “I was well versed in the basics of the agricultural industry; however, SRUC gave me the opportunity to take a step back, look at it differently and study the intricacies of the industry. I hope the debate at the Highland Show will allow my generation of agriculture business people a voice and let us express our possibly differing views on the direction we think it should take.” 

Sally, who graduated with a degree in Agriculture, said: We are currently experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set the agenda and really shape policy which will have a meaningful impact on rural Scotland. In the Year of Young People, I can think of no better way to explore the possibilities than with an all-young panel, who will be living with the outcome in the years ahead.

“They are the future of rural Scotland, after all, and it is important to hear their differing perspectives and aspirations, and to discuss, challenge and promote it with an audience of all ages. I am delighted that Oxford Farming Conference is able to provide such a platform.”

SRUC will be hosting an OFC reception at its stand following the debate.

The Oxford Union Debate is free to attend for all members of the agricultural community attending the Royal Highland Show, but due to limited space, places must be secured by registering for the event here. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

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