International honour for Norfolk as plans unveiled for Commonwealth conference at UEA

Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association leaders were in Canada to accept the honour of hosting the 29

Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association leaders were in Canada to accept the honour of hosting the 29th Commonwealth Agriculture Conference in Norfolk in 2020. From left: RNAA chief executive Greg Smith, Laura Gadowsky of Northlands Agriculture, RNAA chairman Sir Nicholas Bacon and Lord Vestey, chairman of Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth. Picture: Dale MacMillan. - Credit: Dale MacMillan

Senior Norfolk representatives travelled to Canada to accept the 'huge honour' of bringing the Commonwealth Agriculture Conference to Norwich.

The event, held every two years in Commonwealth countries around the world since 1963, will be hosted by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) in July 2020, with the conference to be held at the University of East Anglia.

Speaking in Edmonton in Canada at the conclusion of the 28th biennial conference, RNAA chairman Sir Nicholas Bacon, said 'It is a huge honour and very apt that the conference returns to Norfolk, as it was in 1957 at our showground that His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh launched the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) – for the good of everyone.

'His foresight and determination is the catalyst for our being here today and I am sure that he is delighted to know that we are continuing to fulfil the objectives he set for the society over 60 years ago.'

The event is designed to showcase the agricultural industry within the host region and share best practice and innovation from across a confederation of more than 50 leading national and regional agricultural associations, show societies and research bodies.

The 2020 conference at the UEA is expected to attract more than 300 delegates from around the Commonwealth and elsewhere, including the USA.

As well as a three-day conference on topics concerning farming, food production and sustainability there will be sessions for business leaders of agricultural associations and 'next generation' members under the age of 40.

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The conference will be preceded by a regional tour of major agricultural enterprises including the Sandringham Estate, as well as a day at the Royal Norfolk Show.

Sir Nicholas, who begins a two-year term as deputy president for the RASC, said: 'Norfolk has featured in the history of farming progress for many centuries and is often described as being the crucible for modern agriculture.

'With this in mind, we are setting out an agenda for 2020 that will look at the major challenges facing farming globally and the roles that we can play in supporting positive development in the Commonwealth'.