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Oxford Farming Conference

Migrant labour fears dominate conference tweets

Matt Atherton

By Matt Atherton+

06-Jan-2017
Last updated on 06-Jan-2017 at 14:10 GMT2017-01-06T14:10:28Z

Delegates took to Twitter during the Oxford Farming Conference, using the hashtag #OFC17
Delegates took to Twitter during the Oxford Farming Conference, using the hashtag #OFC17

Tweets criticising the government’s apparent lack of detailed planning for the food industry after Brexit dominated social media coverage of the Oxford Farming Conference. The continued availability of migrant labour was a particular concern – as our tweet selection reveals.

Other Twitter themes included the food industry’s exports to the EU after Brexit and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA’) new green paper on agricultural and environmental policy, due to be published this year.

Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom ‘admitted’ British farming exports to the EU would decline after Brexit, it was tweeted. All negotiations regarding exports – as well as labour and subsidies – were yet to start, Leadsom and DEFRA minister of state George Eustice said during the conference.

Exporting success

Elsewhere in the conference, Mash Direct director Jack Hamilton said using the British brand was critical to food manufacturers’ exporting success. The Oxford Farming Conference tweeted Hamilton’s top six tips for exporting success, also including being agile, emphasising heritage, being selective, entering awards and using digital marketing.

The best way to sell food was to get it into people’s mouths, Hamilton said during his speech on Thursday (January 5). Mash Direct gave away 120,000 samples of its products to push extra sales, he said.

Meanwhile, the food industry could look forward to a “more sensible, proportionate and coherent approach” to regulation after Brexit, Eustice told FoodManufacture.co.uk in an exclusive video interview .

The Oxford Farming Conference 2017 took place between January 3 and 5, at the University of Oxford.