OFC Inspire brings every corner of the industry together

OFC Inspire brings every corner of the industry together

Kendra Hall, an Inspire delegate in 2022, explains why the programme is the perfect opportunity for anyone wanting a fresh look at UK agriculture.
Kendra Hall was an Inspire delegate in 2022.
Kendra Hall was an Inspire delegate in 2022.
Kendra Hall was an Inspire delegate in 2022.
Kendra Hall was an Inspire delegate in 2022.

Kendra Hall is an Account Director at Reverberate PR and a 2022 Nuffield Scholar. Here, she explains more about her experience in the Inspire programme,

When I first applied for the Inspire programme, my primary reason for doing so was to attend the Oxford Farming Conference for the first time. But little did I know, the experience would give me so much more than just a look into one of British agriculture’s most prestigious events.

Having completed the programme, I now have an amazing group of lifelong friends, a few incredible life experiences, and a better understanding of corners of our industry I didn’t previously know existed.

As always in life, it’s people you meet along the way that have the greatest impact, and this couldn’t be truer for OFC Inspire. Our little group represents a huge range of professions, backgrounds and political outlooks, and we wasted little time in getting to know one another at our first meeting in London. Having so many perspectives around the table meant conversations were anything but boring, and I cannot overstate how much I have learned and grown simply by knowing each of them.

Meeting leading figures in the industry

There were several moments throughout the experience when I couldn’t quite believe who I was in the same room with – let alone speaking to! An initial trip to London included a trip to the US Embassy, as well as meetings with the likes of Farmers Weekly editor Andrew Meredith and Dyson Farming and TIAH chair David Fursdon.  

Our group was lucky enough to have a more extended programme than other cohorts due to the 2022 conference being held online, and TIAH's support allowed us to stay engaged over the next year. In 2022, we were hosted by Ben Taylor-Davies, who shared his vast knowledge of farming in sync with natural systems, as well as what he had learned from his many ‘experiments’ to find new routes to success. The group also visited G’s Fresh later that year, but I was unlucky and couldn’t make that one – I still regret that! 

An amazing experience

After such an amazing (and unexpected) year, we finally made it to the main event in Oxford in January 2023. There is something really special about this conference, created by the historic settings mixed with the forward-facing discussions about the future.

It was such a privilege to be sat in those rooms, hearing leading figures speak about some of the biggest issues facing our industry, from labour and biodiversity to government policy and urban farming. The best part, however, was sharing this with my fellow Inspire delegates, and I really enjoyed hearing their takes on the sessions as we discussed them well into the evenings. 

OFC Inspire pushed me outside my comfort zone in almost every way, and I like to think I am better for it. I came away from the entire experience with fresh thinking and a renewed energy for how to approach the areas I care the most about – plus more confidence in myself and a better understanding of 'the big picture' of British Farming. 

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