Change the goal, change the system (north)

Past Event - booking closed

Friday, 26 January 2024

10:00am - 4:15pm

J36 Rural Auction Centre, Crooklands, Milnthorpe, Cumbria


Change the goal, change the system: balancing food production and ecosystem function.
We all know that farming with the environment in mind is at the forefront of our industry, so join us to find out what that looks like in practice.

Our new Roots to Resilience programme equips you with the learning you need to take your beef and lamb businesses to the next level. 

At this event, we’ll tap into the expertise and experience of our speakers to find the answers that you need to take your business forward. What can you practically do on your farm that will improve ecosystem function while maintaining your desired level of production?

We’ll hear real-life case studies that showcase systems changes in the USA and UK and pick the brains of those that have been most involved in the process.

Backed by the extensive research experience of world-renowned Jason Rowntree from Michigan State University, we’ll demonstrate how ecological functioning and production can go hand in hand.

Please note, this event is for farmers and growers only; we politely ask allied industry colleagues not to register. Jason will, however, be speaking at the British Cattle Breeders Conference on Tuesday 23 January in Telford, you can book your tickets here.

Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

BASIS and RoSA CPD points will be available for attending.

This event is being run in partnership with the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, which supports and promotes the farming industry through health care, business, education and funding scientific research into rural affairs.


  • Jason Rowntree, Michigan State University
  • Paul Allison, farmer, County Durham
  • Tom Stobbart, farmer, Cumbria
  • Kevin Holliday, farmer, Lake District

Jason Rowntree
Jason Rowntree is the director of Michigan State University’s Centre for Regenerative Agriculture and has been responsible for the system change that has taken place there, using holistic and regenerative management principles to improve soil properties, forage production and ecological function while employing an 18–20-month finishing model.

Jason’s research focus is identifying the metrics and management that reflect ecological improvement in grazing land systems. Since arriving at Michigan State University in 2009, he has given over 250 talks throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Africa and New Zealand.

He has also worked to co-develop, with the Savory Institute, an Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV) that is now being used on over 2m acres of grasslands on every continent except Antarctica.

He is also the project director of a new $19.2m-funded project titled, 'Metrics, Management, and Monitoring: An Investigation of Pasture and Rangeland Soil Health and its Drivers'.

His work in beef sustainability has been featured in the movie Sacred Cow, The Washington Post, New York Times, Forbes and many other popular media publications.

Paul Allison
Paul farms 150 ha with his family in County Durham. They have 121 spring-calving Saler suckler cattle which are mostly pedigree but are run commercially.

Eighty-five youngstock are currently being outwintered on kale and bale grazing.

The farm also supports 425 Lleyn and TEFRom x Lleyn ewes.

The farm is currently undergoing organic conversion and is in a Countryside Stewardship agreement, with plans to apply for a new SFI option in January 2024.

Tom Stobbart
Tom farms with his brother, Jimmy, in Armathwaite, Cumbria. They farm 780 ha, of which 680 ha is SDA hill ground and 100 ha is improved grassland, managed through rotational grazing.

They have 70 beef shorthorn x blue grey suckler cattle, which are mainly outwintered on deferred grazing and bale grazing, with all progeny finished on farm.

The farm also supports 350 Cheviot x Romney ewes, 180 followers and 50 pigs. The Stobbarts are currently in a HLS scheme, moving into a CS scheme on the 1 January 2024 and have a small area in SFI as well.

Kevin Holliday 
Kevin and Yvonne Holliday have been on Strudda Bank for over 37 years and their daughter and son-in-law, Vicky and Peter Slater, came back into the business as partners five years ago.

Strudda Bank Farm is a 500-acre hill farm on the western fringe of the Lake District national park. It comprises a herd of 100 suckler cows, with a pedigree Simmental herd and 1,000 Herdwick and Herdwick cross Texel ewes.

The farm has common rights to two fells and covers a variety of habitats including hay meadows, grazed pastures, native and conifer woodland, and moorland grazing.

They have been in an environmental scheme for 15 years, which includes 25 school visits a year. The farm recently signed up to the SFI scheme, which comprised mainly hedgerow assessment and management, and also moorland assessment.

As a diversification, they have two glamping pods and love to encourage agri-tourism, introducing and showing people what they do on the farm.

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If you have any questions about this event, please contact us using the details below.


T 01904 771218