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Steyning Festival event: Building a Sustainable Future

Virgin Money Head of Agriculture, Brian Richardson, has been invited to give a keynote presentation at the Steyning Festival (running between 24th May and 2nd June), addressing the critical need for farmers, rural communities and the country as a whole to build an environmentally and economically sustainable future for farming.

Founded in 2006, the Steyning Festival has grown into a biennial ten-day celebration of a thriving local community’s culture, heritage, arts and crafts, and a platform for the passionate championship of the surrounding rural environment.

'Steyning is surrounded by some of the UK’s most beautiful but agriculturally challenging farmland and is close to the now world-famous Knepp Reserve where approaches to ‘rewilding’ unproductive farmland are being pioneered,' says Nick Linfield, one of the festival organisers. 'Our farmers are the most important stewards of our environment. Without their commitment, the UK cannot meet its natural and climate targets, but farmers also need to be able to produce food profitably; this is a critical time both for the future of the agricultural industry and the health of our environment.'

'We’re delighted that Brian Richardson will bring all his experience and expertise in farming and agricultural banking to the Steyning Festival and help explain how our farmers can produce healthy and affordable food, look after the environment and make a decent living all at the same time.'

A Nuffield Scholar from a farming background, Brian has spent the majority of his career running agri-businesses and farm cooperatives across the UK, latterly as CEO of the H&H Group in the North West before joining Virgin Money in 2018 as Head of Agriculture for the UK. He is passionate about supporting farmers through the essential transition to a Zero Carbon economy.

'This is a real privilege for me to speak at the Steyning Festival. Farming is currently going through a period of completely unprecedented change. Farmers are facing very steep challenges to meet fast-approaching Net Zero Carbon targets and to produce the extraordinarily high quality of food that we expect in this country at a viable profit.'

'Virgin Money has always been deeply involved in the agriculture sector, and we are helping hundreds of farming clients all over the UK to invest in new farming strategies, in technology, diversification and carbon reduction to secure a sustainable future for themselves, their families and their farming businesses.'

'I have complete confidence that our farmers will achieve the changes we need to make for the sake of the industry and our food supply, and for the regeneration of our environment. It will be a pleasure to give our farmers the praise they deserve at this wonderful festival and talk about some of the remarkable successes we have been able to support locally and nationally.'

The Future of Farming. Driving productivity and profitability in a sustainable way.

Chaired by Jeremy Kerswell,
Principal of Plumpton Agricultural College.
Speakers: Brian Richardson, UK head of Agriculture Virgin Money and Martin Lines,
Chair of Nature Friendly Farming Network.

Steyning Festival: Thursday May 30th at 18:00, Steyning Methodist Church.
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