FARMERS were urged to embrace new technology and approaches, despite the uncertainties of Brexit, at this year’s Northern Farming Conference.

Now in its 10th year the event was held at Hexham Auction Mart with key speakers on the day addressing the theme of ‘Sweating the Assets’ in front of an audience of around 200 delegates.

Just some of the speakers taking to the stage included CLA deputy president Mark Bridgeman, who urged farmers to explore diversification to deal with changing times by showcasing the diversification journey on his mixed estate, which comprises an organic farm, three let farms, woods, a housing development and biomass plants.

Northumberland farmer Rupert Wailes-Fairbairn, of South Berrington Farm, and director at insurance brokers Lycetts, advised farmers to make use of risk-management tools like index insurance to make their businesses more resilient.

Robert Ord, one of the founding members of Drone Ag, gave an insight into how advances in technology are opening up opportunities for farmers to increase profit, while also helping the environment. Livestock farmer Alex Brewster demonstrated to the crowd how he improved on-farm profitability by managing his grassland and grazing management in a more holistic way and building in diversity.

Other speakers on the day included head of agriculture at Barclays, Mark Suthern, conference chairman Matthew Curry, chief executive of the Centre for Innovation Excellent in Livestock Lyndsay Chapman, and programme manager for Catchment Sensitive Farming, Bob Middleton.