Excellent Response for Second National Conference on Biological Farming

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An excellent response has been received by the conference organisers of the second national conference on biological farming systems, which will be held on 20-21 February 2014 in Rydges Hotel Rotorua.

TAFomaAlready more than 100 farmers, Maori land owners, soil and environmental scientists, land management specialists, and representatives from government agencies, regional councils, fertiliser companies, agricultural and horticultural businesses have shown interest in attending and participating in the conference.

We have a good line of speakers from New Zealand universities, crown research institutes, farmers and consultants, who will present their findings and observations.

Moreover, a number of companies have come forward to sponsor the conference.

We are really humbled by the response that we have received so far, said Prof Guna Magesan, conference coordinator and science advisor to Te Arawa FOMA.

A part of this credit goes to local and national media including farming magazines that played a key role in promoting this conference.

It shows that in New Zealand, interest in biological farming is growing and we need to cater for such people who want to share and learn. Conferences provide excellent opportunities.

Theme of the second conference is Biological farming under different land uses, reflecting the vital role of biological farming in sustaining our economy, our environment, and our communities.

The conference programme includes two days of technical sessions of oral and poster presentations and conference dinner.

The conference will provide a forum for discussion of a wide range of topics for current and future biological farming systems research. Tentatively, the following are the six sessions:
SESSION 1: Biological Farming under different land uses (dairy, sheep, horticulture, forestry)
SESSION 2: Biological Farming Challenges & Opportunities
SESSION 3: Panel Session: Progressing Biological Farming
SESSION 4: Biological Farming and environment (water quality, carbon, climate change)
SESSION 5: Farmer Experiences & Value-added Products
SESSION 6: Biological Farming A way forward

While many papers presented will focus on research and development, there is at least one paper which will question the validity of biological farming movement. We have included that paper because we want to hear different views. We are sure it will create discussion and help shape the biological farming movement.

There is one panel session Progressing Biological Farming which will bring representatives from Maori and Pakeha farmers, industry associations, science communities, and possibly from government/funding agencies together to discuss, debate and deliberate to take the biological farming concept forward.

I believe this Panel session will be a turning point and will create a history, in the movement of Biological Farming in Aotearoa New Zealand, said Magesan.

In addition to the two-day technical session, the conference organisers are aiming to have an Open Day for the Rotorua public on Saturday, 22 February, to promote biological farming concepts to the general public and also to connect the public with the biological farming community and sustainability groups.

We are currently discussing with a tertiary institute to partner for the Open Day and promote this in a big way.

The soil and water resources affect all aspects of New Zealand life. These resources must be protected and nourished so that it will continue to look after us long into the future.

Rotorua is an ideal location due to the growing local and national emphasis on water quality.

We are expecting many Maori land trusts and organisations to attend the conference and participate in the discussions. Soil and water quality issues confront many landowners in our region and the need to examine other options that support sustainable and profitable farming, said Te Taru White, Deputy Chairman of Te Arawa FOMA.

This national conference provides a platform for the biological farming groups to come together, work together, and grow together.

Dr Guna Magesan

Conference Coordinator
Second National Conference on Biological Farming Systems
20 & 21 February 2014
Rydges Rotorua
Fenton Street, Rotorua
Mob:+64 21 034 5621
biologicalfarming.systems@gmail.com

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