Rural professionals are a canny bunch, who often seem to play their cards close to their chests – they all have a living to make after all. But their enthusiasm for a lively sharing of ideas quickly shone through at the first “Landbridge” event held on 4th October in
Newcastle. Landbridge is a new knowledge exchange network developed by researchers at the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University with the aim of improving linkages between rural professionals and academic research communities. Over 50 advisors from a wide range of professional backgrounds came along to set an agenda for rural inter-professional working and exchange. Practitioners, including a vet, a land agent and an agronomist, shared a taste of their real-life experiences in an economic climate where the price of expertise is constantly being squeezed. But they quickly agreed that sharing knowledge has the potential to benefit everyone, and better access to the latest research could be a real bonus. As soon became clear from the way everyone tackled the workshop exercises, these specialists are constantly needing to work together to find solutions to complex technical problems and that’s when networking becomes a necessity. One delegate remarked, “Farming is an industry based on trust”, and that’s a principle that underlies much of the economic activity in rural communities.