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New chair of sustainable agriculture at Aberystwyth

Professor Gareth Edwards-Jones has been appointed to the Waitrose Chair of Sustainable Agriculture at IBERS, Aberystwyth University. The appointment is part of an innovative joint arrangement with Bangor University in which Professor Edwards-Jones will combine his new post with his position as Professor of Agriculture and Land-Use Studies in Bangor.

He said: A key area will be looking at how farmers need to adapt and change to meet consumer demand. We want to bridge the knowledge gap between farmers and retailers by seeing how they can most effectively work together.

Research into sustainability will also be an important part of the role. Professor Edwards-Jones will be looking at how this impacts on the environment but also in terms of a healthy rural community.

It's vital that our research does not look at subjects in isolation. Environmental protection is key for the future of UK agriculture and at the same time ensuring farmers continue to run a profitable business.

Sue Fowler, Director of Organic Centre Wales said: OCW is delighted that this post has come to IBERS and are looking forward to offering the systems approach of organic farming into the discussions on sustainable agriculture. Whilst organic certification is not for everyone, there are elements of the organic approach that can assist with thinking about sustainability: careful use of resources, using legumes to fix nitrogen and recycling nutrients, promoting biodiversity and promoting excellent animal health and welfare. Also the organic certification allows consumers to support this sort of food production by offering labeled products that are guaranteed to be grown under this system, which should provide a financial reward to the producer.

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