I was recently lucky enough to attend the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) writes BRYONY GITTINS, of the NFU CYMRU's NEXT GENERATION GROUP

.To start off I attended an Inspire programme (of which I am a member along with 17 other likeminded people) gathering, which gave us a chance to take stock and take a deep breath before we jumped headfirst into the conference programme.

All I can say is WOW. Well done OFC23. I found every session informative, interesting and relevant. I enjoyed the diversity of speakers, the topics were so easily relatable and the pace kept us awake and eager for more.

One of my highlights was listening to JoJo Mehta (Stop Ecocide International) talk about ‘ecocide’. If you haven’t heard about it (I don’t think I had) – ecocide is a word used to describe what is happening to our planet, the mass destruction of the natural living world. JoJo describes how Stop Ecocide International is working on a law to make ecocide an international crime as, right now, in most of the world, no one is held responsible

On Thursday evening, was the notorious OFC Oxford Union Debate, this year themed ‘This house believes that humans will not be needed on farms in a generation’ – what a great topic. I was thrilled to see fellow Inspire member Ed Hodson and fellow NFU Cymru Next Generation Group member Katie Davies get up to speak for the opposing side – brave and fearless.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the proposing side did not prevail, so here’s to the need for humans on farm and I am left wondering in anticipation of next year’s topic.

We then had an amazing dinner in none other than the Harry Potter dining hall at Christ Church College, not many people can say they’ve done that during attendance at a farming conference!

Friday was a powerful and emotional day. It included the Inspiring Farmers session. Mary Quicke led and said ‘change is the only definite, deal with the things you can control, you have all the access to the resources you need – have the courage’. Then Salih Hodzhow told us of how he came to move from Bulgaria to Kent and now manages a large family-run soft fruit farm. We all learnt something from his story, his work ethos and passion.

Finally – tissues at the ready – the awe-inspiring Sammi Kinghorn, double Paralympic medallist, who talked about succeeding after adversity when a farm accident left her paralysed and yet she found the strength and courage to pursue her dreams.

What a whirlwind of talks, chats, networking, empowerment, motivation and inspiration. What an amazing few days in a beautiful city. I feel truly proud to be in the agricultural industry. This is not just a conference for farmers – this is a conference for everyone who cares about the planet we live on, the food we eat and the people we connect with.

The last thing I wrote in my notes upon being asked to reflect how we felt at the conference close are the words: ‘in awe of what’s possible’.