Farmers in the Blackdown Hills area of East Devon and south Somerset are being invited to an important gathering to learn more about the practical realities of climate change.

A free, one-day conference on November 12, at Monks Yard, Ilminster is being organised by a local farmer training network, the Blackdown Hills Farming and Woodland Group.

Organiser of the event Gavin Saunders said: “There’s a lot of media coverage of climate change these days, but few opportunities to get the facts direct from the experts. This conference will bring the subject of climate change down to a local, practical level, and focus on its impacts and consequences for the farming community of the Blackdown Hills.”

“Farmers and other landowners stand to be massively affected by climate change in the coming years, through more-frequent flood events and droughts, soil erosion, loss of natural pollinators, seasonal shifts and other factors.

“But they can also be in the vanguard of efforts to combat climate change and its effects, through the ways they look after the land – storing more carbon, protecting watercourses, improving the resilience of soils, and enabling wildlife to adapt and spread.”

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Key speakers at the event will include Professor Richard Betts from the Met Office, who was a lead author on recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. Professor Betts is one of the most senior experts in this field in the UK, and this will be an important opportunity to hear directly from a scientist at the cutting edge of climate science. There will also be speakers from the Environment Agency, the National Farmers Union, the Soil Association, and the Dartmoor-based tree charity, Moor Trees.

Charlie Hopcraft, a local farmer and member of the Blackdown Hills Farming and Woodland Group said: “This is an event no farmer should miss. We need to understand these issues now, so that we know how to prepare for what’s coming, and how to help reduce the impacts.”

He added: “Some farmers may be alarmed at the media focus on livestock and meat consumption and its impacts on climate, but the story is more complex than sometimes portrayed. The Blackdown Hills is a livestock farming landscape, so we need to look at how sustainable livestock farming in this part of the world can be part of the solution to climate change, rather than part of the problem.”

To book a place at this free event, email or call him on 07760 665378.