The Catholic Church’s Working Group on Rural Issues organises an annual conference to closely and proactively examine the issues of the day.
Agricultural concerns feature prominently such as the response to diseases that threaten animals (and consequently food supplies) and Single Farm Payment registration for diocesan-owned farms.
Rural ministry covers many other areas – every rural area is in somebody’s Catholic parish – so many other topics come under the spotlight like flooding and the plight of rural migrant workers.
Although ‘rural’ means much more than farming, every conference includes ‘A View from the Farm Gate’.
Over the years, conference delegates have heard from a variety of expert speakers covering a wide range of subjects and areas of expertise.
Conferences also include visits to organisations working in the field such as the Food and Environment Research Agency in North Yorkshire, and working sites like a 2,200-cow dairy herd in Lancashire.