Kate Lee - New and emerging technologies
I am 28 years old and I worked for the UK farming unions and the National Pig Association in Brussels from September 2006 until September 2012. Whilst this was a very cosmopolitan life I lived and breathed agriculture every day in trying to communicate the needs and aspirations of UK farmers to policy makers.
Key policies I worked included organic food, biotechnology, cloning, food labelling and climate change. I also worked with the EU Commission, Member State Governments and the European Parliament at a crucial time when welfare laws were coming into force on farm animals such as laying hens and pigs.
I had a joyful upbringing in Cheshire, I have a twin sister Jenny and a younger sister Amy who work in photography and fashion. I love languages and speak French, Spanish, Portuguese and I am learning Danish. Otherwise in my spare time I enjoy hiking, running half marathons (I could never do a full one!) and touch rugby. I am also partial to a bit of singing and dancing!
Agriculture news from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, June 13th 2012
The official stakeholder negotiations began today, it’s time to increase our visibility and tackle the UN negotiating texts (the section on agriculture is currently 10 paragraphs long and is changing “hourly”, we are told).
With the World Farmers’ Organization’s (WFO) first major event taking place at 13.00, lunchtime threatened to be a mad dash with no hope of finding something to suit everyone - my lunch pals consisting of farm leaders from a variety of continents.
Yet the Brazilians did not disappoint. Everyone was fed and raring to go thanks to the great efforts made at the food court. Mrs. Al Momany, President of the Specific Union for Women Farmers in Jordan, even found Arabic food served by a friendly Arabic speaker! Not bad.
The WFO event on transfer of knowledge in the farming community scored an impressive attendance and I was glad - Bridgit Muasa, a vet officer from the Kenyan Government was particularly compelling. She called on extension services to get “back to basics” with things like efficiency of chicken feed and care of day-old chicks (the poultry sector represents some 76% of rural activity in her country). Ms. Muasa also made a strong case for the role of women in implementing practical and technological advice.
And finally, I’ll let you into a secret - the World Farmers’ Organization delegation may be high-level, experienced and impressive in its expertise but we have one fundamental problem – lack of Portuguese speakers! It has been with pleasure therefore, that I have been able to make myself useful and help with the practical side of things.
Today we took it a step further, I was called upon to liaise with the technical team (a couple of Brazilian young lads speaking no English) to arrange the smooth running of our event.