< A Message from the Chairman
Conference Chairman 2020, Laurence Loxam

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 2020 British Cattle Breeders’ Club Conference (BCBC).    Since its inception over 70 years ago, the BCBC conference has become a unique event, renowned for its mix of practical, high quality speakers and it’s drive for innovation.

With the future of cattle breeding at its heart, the BCBC conference links a wide spectrum of farmers, scientists, students and industry influencers.  The conference provides a fantastic forum in which to kick off the New Year, challenging ideas, introducing new science and technologies and providing the opportunity to meet people, stimulate thought, debate and discussion. The conference itself is a focal point of the year for the club where we embark on finding answers and solutions in today’s fast moving environment.  In a world with a rapidly growing population that increasingly demands of ‘more for less’, how can we ensure that an overriding need for quantity does not detract from the quality of the food we produce?

Succession and sustainability are two key messages I would like to address during the 2020 conference.  Both topics are close to my heart as we embark on 2020, the starting part of a new decade where we are going to see huge changes around the world and especially in the agricultural industry. Therefore, I am thrilled to welcome speakers such as Dr Jude Capper and Martin Thatcher to name just two.  We are so fortunate to have such a great line-up so I am excited to hear each and every paper.

Some of our challenges transitioning into 2020 are; how do we combat the rise of veganism and the rapidly changing environment, especially in the realms of global warming?  Recently, we have heard the message that cattle are causing more methane gases than ever before and that this could be contributing to global warming; what can we do to prove this hypothesis wrong or is it correct and in fact we may need to adapt with the trends of the times?

We have seen over many years how cattle breeding has greatly benefitted from the dynamic integration of science, new technologies, and innovation.  In this ‘new era’, I have no doubt that science and innovation will be even more important for farmers now, and for future generations.  New thinking and strengthening the ability to innovate, will provide the advances and improvements that will increase efficiencies and produce populations of animals that can respond to the demands of a changing market place; we have to be more effective.

We are, of course, deeply indebted to all our sponsors, without whom we would not be able to run a conference of this stature. Our major sponsors for this conference are Dairymaster, AHDB, VikingGenetics and Waitrose.  

Finally, to be the Chairman of the 2020 Conference is truly a great honour and I feel humbled to have found myself in this important position.  It is very much my hope that you enjoy the programme, speakers and the chance to network with other attendees, leaving the 2020 BCBC conference informed, full of ideas, and with the energy and vision to embrace practical innovation and add value to every level of our great beef and dairy industries. I look forward to seeing you there.

Laurence Loxam