Tickets have gone on sale for the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) and a list of headline speakers has been released, including environmentalist and financier Ben Goldsmith, chef, broadcaster, and writer Romy Gill , farmer and musician Andy Cato, and chair of Westmorland Limited, Sarah Dunning.

They join more than 30 speakers who will be attending the event from January 3-5 2024.

Multi-millionaire Ben Goldsmith, a controversial figure among the rural community for views on subjects such as subsidies and the impact of farmed animals on the environment, will put forward the motion 'This house believes that farming for food is holding back nature recovery in protected landscapes' in the always highly anticipated conference debate in the hallowed setting of the Oxford Union. Cumbrian hill farmer Will Cockbain will lead the opposition to the motion.

The Northern Farmer: Ben Goldsmith

Chair of OFC24, Welsh beef, and arable farmer Will Evans, said tickets going on sale and the announcement of speakers for the event has set the countdown clock ticking.

“It was very exciting - but also slightly daunting - to see the tickets going on sale,” said Will.

“What the conference does so well is challenge its audiences; putting speakers on stage saying things that we as an industry don’t necessarily want to hear.”

One speaker Will is very much looking forward to hearing is Sarah Dunning . Her parents launched Tebay Services in 1972 after the M6 motorway was built across their Cumbrian hill farm. It has grown to a nationwide concern but remained true to its agricultural roots by working with local farmers and producers.

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“We’ve all probably pulled off the motorway at Gloucester, or one of the family’s other service stations, and it will be so interesting to hear the backstory to this farming family’s amazing success story,” said Will.

The theme of diversity for the 2024 OFC came to Will while he was driving his tractor.

“I hope diversity will be a lasting legacy, rather than a theme that is tackled and then forgotten about,” he explained.

“It’s very much my hope that we can go forward united in making agriculture a destination industry for people from a diversity of backgrounds.

“Of course, agriculture is already full of diversity - in its environment, landscapes, and the food it produces - so it’s a much wider theme than just about the people within the industry. I want the whole conference to be a celebration of difference. There are no right or wrong answers, but diversity of opinions that we might not agree with but that are very much worth listening to.”

To view a full list of speakers or purchase a ticket for OFC24, visit