THIS WINTER'S Oxford Farming Conference has been cancelled, organisers have announced.

The event's 2021 chair, Sally Williams issued a statement saying that the ongoing uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated lockdown had made it too risky to commit to venue bookings.

"We run the event at break-even or a slight loss, so the uncertainty of booking the Oxford University only for us to have to cancel due to the pandemic is something we felt we could not support," said Ms Williams. "Therefore, the council have made the difficult decision to cancel OFC 2021 and replace it with a one-day digital OFC."

Taking place on Thursday January 7, the 2021 OFC online conference will endeavour to offer the same content as the physical event would have – the politics, the inspiring farmers, the Frank Parkinson Lecture, and the OFC Debate, providing a 'provocative' virtual experience with the opportunity to engage through online networking and Q and A.

"Whilst disappointed at not being able to hold a physical conference and welcome you to Oxford we are very excited at the possibilities afforded to us by taking the conference fully virtual," said Ms Williams.

"Through the use of digital tools, we will be able to provide you with a rich experience bringing together international speakers who we might otherwise have not been able to include in the line-up. Never before has it been more important that we look beyond our shores and learn from our colleagues across the world and we look forward to sharing the programme with you as it develops."

To commemorate the historic influence of the event and the speakers that it has attracted over the past nine decades, the organisers have also launched 'OFC Bitesize' – a webinar series that will pick a theme from a past conference and debate its sentiments.

Hosted on the first Thursday of every month from June to December 2020, these lunchtime online events will draw opinion from a host of different businesses and geographies. Each one will be chaired by an OFC drector and range from presentations to debates and panels.

"The recent pandemic has drawn attention to how much we all value the opportunity to meet physically, and for me, like many of you, the ability to meet with friends and colleagues at OFC has always been a highlight," said Ms Williams. "Whilst this won’t be possible in 2021, our Bitesize series and digital conference will continue to uphold our strong reputation for stimulating debate and I very much look forward to welcoming you for our first webinar on June 4."

Find out more about the OFC's online activities at