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11.08.05
Innovative Objective One Funded Project To Speak To The World

Laura Biddick, Grassland Challenge Extension Officer as she prepares for her involvement in the 15th Conference of the International Farm Management Association in BrazilLaura Biddick, Grassland Challenge Extension Officer as she prepares for her involvement in the 15th Conference of the International Farm Management Association in Brazil

Grassland Challenge, the Cornish-based knowledge transfer project has been selected to explain its success to an international audience. The project was approached by the UK's Institute of Farm Management to put forward a paper at the international conference, 'Developing Entrepreneurship Abilities to Feed the World in a Sustainable Way' taking place at Sao Paolo in Brazil from 14 to 19 August 2005.

Laura Biddick, one of the four Extension Officers from the project was given the challenge of presenting the paper. That was only one of her problems – how to raise the funds to travel and attend the conference was another! Laura set about this and thanks to the support of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association and the Studley College Trust, Laura has set off for Brazil.

This is the 15th Congress of the International Farm Management Association which holds conferences every other year in countries with prominence in the agricultural and livestock sectors. Their purpose is to seek solutions for problems that deal with food supply in a sustainable way by facilitating the effective improvement of farm management worldwide. This is carried out through exchanging ideas, experience and knowledge, learning about the agriculture of the organising country and stimulating contacts between farmers, teachers, advisers, researchers, policy-makers and agribusiness at national and international levels.

Laura is from a farming family at St Columb and after studying at Truro High School, obtained a First Class degree in agriculture from the Royal Agricultural College. She initially worked in arable crop research and commercial animal nutrition before joining the Grassland Challenge team when the project was launched in 2003. Laura will outline how this approach is being carried out in an area of the United Kingdom where agriculture is still important in economic terms (7% of GDP) in contrast to the rest of the country. The Grassland Challenge is a successful partnership combining the resources of public and private sector funding, a training organisation and a leading research institution together with farmers' organisations to work with farmers through focus groups and demonstration farms. It is organised by Extension Officers to disseminate research messages and promote best practice.

Paul Ward, Project Manager, commented "All credit is due to Laura in raising the necessary funding to attend this international event to broadcast more widely the approach being taken in Cornwall to agricultural extension work. As a young professional interested in the beef sector, this opportunity will also allow Laura to visit a country which is becoming of increasing importance in beef production."

Grassland Challenge is a partnership project led by Duchy College on behalf of the Cornish Grassland Societies in association with the Institute of Grassland & Environmental Research (IGER), aiming to improve the competitiveness of grassland and forage producers in Cornwall through technology transfer and dissemination of best practice. This project is part financed by the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) and Defra and through sponsorship from Cornwall Farmers Limited and their suppliers.

For further information please contact Hazel Burton of Grassland Challenge on 01579 372295 or email: hazel.burton@duchy.ac.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Grassland Challenge through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

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Editor's notes:

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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