Field at sunset

Ensuring Data takes its rightful place in the Agricultural toolbox

November 2023
Last week we saw the man who bought Twitter say that Artificial Intelligence would make work optional. I am pretty sure he has never battled with the multiple challenges of harvesting or establishing crops in an ever more turbulent climate. It is inevitable that AI will, in time, influence agriculture ever more and I will be the first to applaud when it can deal with slugs or blackgrass with precision accuracy on saturated soils!! Read more...
Sarah Bell outside No. 10 Downing Street

Mobilising Nature Finance for Farmers and Land Managers

June 2023
There is little new in receiving an invitation to a meeting entitled “Mobilising Nature Finance for Farmers and Land Managers.” When it is in 10 Downing Street, there is little reason to decline, so I read through the numerous documents and hopped on a train. This looked like a passive listening exercise; Therese Coffey announced additional Defra funding for NEIRF. I’ve explored the website but haven’t yet determined if it aligns with my approach to environmental improvement, which prioritises high impact, low-tech, low-risk, and low-cost solutions. Read more...
Tractor and combine harvester working in a field

Rethink – Does COP matter to Agriculture?

January 2023
When asked for a farmers view of COP for the Radio 4 rethink episode (link here), I found myself thinking “buzz words and policy wonks”, and really struggled to find specific concrete examples of how and where it has made a difference. The sceptic in me leapt straight to thinking it is a platform for voices to send messages about their ideals, virtue signal and maybe even a hook to hang the promo of their latest book or paper on. Read more...
Sarah Bell on the farm

Women Growing Grain

December 2022
A long form conversation recorded for the BBC World Service in July 2022 during the peak of the drought in what has turned out to be the warmest year on record. It is remarkable how similar the pressures are on farmers the world over – the climate, the people, the politics and the paradigm all making generational impacts. Read more...
Sarah Bell on the farm

How Can Farmers Share Data With Confidence?

December 2022
Data is touching the whole industry. The mere mention of it leaves some people cold, some perplexed. But collecting and sharing data is becoming increasingly unavoidable in farming. There are more and more demands for intelligence, analytics and data sharing in the food supply chain’s drive for greater efficiency and sustainability. Read more...
The Bottom Line with Evan Davis title slide

The Bottom Line – The Price of Bread

December 2022
Click below to listen to “The ‘crust’ of living: Evan Davis looks at the spiralling costs of baking a loaf of bread. On top of rising energy bills the industry is having to keep up with huge increases in the price of wheat. In this episode a farmer, a miller and a baker explain how they’re trying to make ends meet. Guests: Sarah Bell, Wheat Farmer and Consultant. Julius Deane, Wheat Director at Carrs Flour Mills Ltd Mike Roberts, Deputy Chairman of Roberts Bakery Producer: Nick Holland Sound: Rod Farquhar Production Coordinators: Sophie Hill and Siobhan Reed” Read more...
bottles of dark beer standing in a field

We can’t eat money: why the UK needs a more joined up ag policy to absorb systematic shocks

June 2022
British life is measured in the prices of bread and beer, the staples of the mass population. The moment commodities markets go to the races, the whole population feels it. Read more...
Close up if oilseed rape growing in a field

Agribusiness needs to keep pace with rapid changes in farming

September 2020
Farming is moving faster than policy and business at the moment. Rather than being at a crossroads as is often suggested, farmers are on a fast-moving motorway, and they are doing everything they can to avoid running out of fuel. Read more...

Sustainability in the supply chain: how to avoid ‘greenwash’ criticism

February 2020
I’m accustomed to a little cynicism around corporate sustainable responsibility. Critics dismiss it as ‘greenwash’; too little too late for the sake of some positive PR. Read more...
A loaf of bread shot from above

Policy: Safe Food For All

February 2020
I am consistently struck by the disparity in wealth within in our society, deprivation in Kensington, people willing to pay five pounds for a loaf of bread in Hackney. The old paradigm of wealth and poverty being easy to judge by address is long gone. However, the gap between those who have and those who don’t has never been larger. The impact of the food system on those who make decisions between buying children shoes and feeding them are the most at risk from food policy change through the Brexit process. Read more...
Sarah Bell in field with iPad

Sustainable – people profit planet, without profit, people and planet suffer​

January 2020
The Paris agreement has driven companies to “do something” as investors are now asking more probing questions. However, because the commodity markets are unwilling to reward sustainable products in their pricing, there is an ugly dynamic. The farm becomes the point at which sustainability (and the value associated with that) is generated. Arguably in the UK many farmers are as sustainable as the outbound price of their product will allow them to be. Where farmers are selling in to a market which doesn’t differentiate from a price perspective between sustainable and unsustainable, there is little opportunity to make different decisions, for better outcomes. Read more...
Crop harvesting

Ingredients and the supply chain: how to protect yourself against Brexit uncertainty

March 2019
British Agriculture faces an uncertain future. Whether you crossed the box for Leave or Remain in the EU referendum, there is one paradoxical certainty ahead of us all: change. Read more...
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