Published on 20th November 2019
Guild member and freelance journalist Martin Rickatson took on a new task during November’s Agritechnica event – chairing the discussion panel at the show's opening press conference.
Reckoned to be the largest show of its type worldwide, Agritechnica hosts some 2,800 exhibitors and 450,000 visitors over a seven day period in Hannover, Germany.
Arable and machinery specialist Martin (third from right, above) chaired the session in addition to his usual duties compiling reports for magazines on the latest launches and writing press material for manufacturers.
Under the theme ‘Global Farming, Local Responsibility’ – and in front of an audience of around 150 journalists from all over the world – those present discussed some of the key issues facing agriculture.
Topics ranged from machinery and technology to seeds and services.
The panel included the chief executive of Case IH and New Holland parent company CNH Industrial; the president of the German agricultural society (DLG); the president of BASF's crop protection division; one of the commercial and off-road vehicle manufacturing industry’s leading consultants; and the chief executive of one of Russia’s largest farming businesses.
“I’ve been attending Agritechnica for over twenty years, but this was the first time I have been involved with an element of the show organisation itself,” says Martin.
“It was a real honour to be asked by the DLG, which runs the show, to take on this role,” says Martin.
“It was a great opportunity to be able to pose questions to some of the world’s leading farmers and agricultural suppliers.
“It was also good to hear their views on where farming is headed in terms of the challenges posed by population growth, technological advances and the need for more sustainable production methods.”
Martin says his German isn’t great and his Russian non-existent – but thankfully the event was conducted in English.
“I’m not sure Fiona Bruce will be concerned for her future, but the Question Time-style discussion went really well,” he adds.
“What was perhaps more daunting was sitting on a platform opposite an audience of journalists – normally I am on the other side, in the crowd.
“But with the conversation flowing between the panellists and a good number of questions from the floor, everything ran smoothly and I had relatively little to do to knit things together.
“It’s always good to try new things, and this was an experience I really enjoyed.”
Martin was also joined the speakers as a guest afterwards at the Max-Eyth evening – a presentation and dinner attended by more than 2,000 people after the show’s second day.
“The professional presenter there made me realise I have a lot to learn,” Martin joked.