LILIS 2018 – Information Pack


Barnside Black Welsh Cows


Friday 15th June 2018 10.30am-4pm


Barnside, Abbey st Bathans, Duns, Scottish Borders.

What is LILIS?

LILIS is annual event for farmers, land managers and policy makers who work with Livestock in Low Input farming Systems. It is now in its third year. Low Input systems include organic, upland, Less Favoured Areas (LFA) and High-Nature-Value (HNV) land. The purpose of LILIS is to disseminate knowledge, skills and experience in producing beef, lamb, milk and poultry from grass, without relying on high-cost inputs (such as fertilisers and chemical sprays) that have a detrimental effect to the environment and the pocket. LILIS is about business resilience and resource efficiency.



Twitter – @scottishorganic

Facebook – Scottish Organic


Twitter – @oforganic

Facebook – Organic Farmers and Growers

Hosts and speakers – Barnside Farm / Charley and Andrea Walker

Twitter – @BarnsideFarm

Facebook – Barnside Farm

Keynote speaker – Andre van Barneveld

Twitter – @graiseconsult1

Facebook – Graise Consultancy

Please use the hashtag #LILIS2018




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SOPA Blog –

SOPA website –

OF&G website –



10am               SOPA AGM for SOPA members

10.30am          Tea and coffee welcome for LILIS delegates

11.00am          Farm tour starts, led by the Walker Family.

1pm                 Networking Lunch along the same lines as 2017

2pm                 Keynote speaker Andre van Barneveld

3pm                 Andrea Walker – Woman in Agriculture

3.15pm          Charley Walker – Facts give us the Figures

3.30pm            Open Q&A

4pm                 Close of conference (may be 4.30pm if Q&A is valuable and ongoing)

Chair for the day is Alec Brewster of Rotmell Farm, Dunkeld.



> The annual LILIS conference looks at the successes and challenges of livestock production in low-input farming systems such as upland, organic and high-nature-value (HNV) farms.

> The theme of LILIS 2018 is ‘Farming for Lifestyle: how a work-life balance can be achieved without sacrificing farm profit.’

> The farm tour and the conference itself will be held on farm and in farm buildings. Appropriate clothing and footwear will be necessary. Biosecurity protocols will be observed. Carparking will be in a field.

> LILIS is entirely self-funded and there is no subsidy support for this event.

> A fantastic organic lunch is included.



SOPA (Scottish Organic Producers Association)

> SOPA is Scotland’s largest organic body, with nearly 350 organic businesses operating throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK. 90% of Scotland’s organic businesses are members of SOPA. SOPA celebrates their 30th anniversary in 2018.

OF&G (Organic Farmers and Growers)

>OF&G certify more than half of the UK’s organic land, and more than 1200 businesses. Predominantly based throughout England but also in Scotland. They also certify all SOPA members through the independent certification body OF&G Scotland.



> The 2018 LILIS conference is held by kind permission of Charley and Andrea Walker, Scottish Sheep Farmers of the Year in 2017.

> Charley and Andrea farm 800 ewes and 90 Welsh Black cows on 250ha in the hills above Duns in the Scottish Borders.

> Organic since 2004, Charley and Andrea are scrupulous in their attention to grazing management, genetic selection and business performance.

> Their aim is to produce easily managed, productive cattle and sheep by running low cost, simple systems which leave a respectable margin and time for family and social life.

> As winners of the 2017 AgriScot Sheep Farm of the Year Award, the judges were impressed with the Walkers’ passion and enthusiasm for sheep farming as well as the family’s commitment to recording and monitoring and analysing performance figures to ensure their business continues to improve.



Barnside Welsh Black Cows


Keynote speaker – Andre van Barneveld


> Andre comes from a background of hands on dairy farming in New Zealand, progressing through the system from farm worker to share milking 300+ cows to farm ownership by the time he was 28.

> Throughout this time Andre was highly focussed on maximising profit through a high focus on margins, controlling costs and maximising output efficiently revolving around maximising pasture utilisation.

> This led him to then employ a manager on his own farm and progress to dairy farm advisory working for DairyTeam in the lower North Island of New Zealand.

> In 2006, whilst travelling around South America studying farming systems and opportunities, Andre met his wife who is Irish and following 7 years living in New Zealand together they moved to Ireland in April 2013.

> Andre started his own business in 2015, Graise Consultancy, offering one on one consultancy as well as facilitating discussion groups and doing group presentations.

> Andre will look to sit down and assess his client’s current position and goals, identify areas of opportunity to then work a plan going forward to achieve the farm goals and potential.

>His passion is in profit through a strong focus on maximising pasture growth and utilisation, controlling costs, pasture and financial budgeting, maximising production through maximising intakes, conversion efficiencies and farming the right cow for the system and milk payment structure, and combining that with the personal goals to achieve a work/life balance that is right for the client.

> Andre specialises in a whole farm system approach and has a broad skill set and understanding in all aspects of pasture based farming to ensure a good correlation between on-farm performance and your personal and business goals.

> Apart from private work with many clients throughout Ireland and the UK, Andre has worked with AHDB facilitating grazing focus workshops and discussion groups, and with QMS Scotland presenting at the Better Grazing meetings.


Andrea Walker –Woman in Agriculture



> Andrea grew up in Cambridgeshire and spend many hours learning the ropes of practical skills from her grandfather who had a smallholding on the Fens. Her heart lay in working with animals and after studying at Harper Adams she tried as many aspects of agriculture as she could – milking cows, lambing ewes, driving tractors and contracting.

> Andrea and Charley’s first foray into a farming career was with 50 sheep on a rented football field in Lincolnshire, while Andrea milked for three dairies and Charley worked full time on a mixed arable estate.

> In 2001 Andrea and Charley moved to Barnside and began their farming tenancy. Andrea professes to be the doer in the business, while Charley is the dreamer. With their two children Tom and Jessica, the Walkers have gone from strength to strength culminating in 2017 Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year.

> The key to their success is team work, and at LILIS Andrea will outline her philosophy to being a career woman in agriculture.

Charley Walker


> Charley grew up on a mixed farm in the Midlands and spent time travelling Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the USA before studying agriculture at Harper Adams, where he and Andrea met.

> An open and independent thinker, Charley is most content when challenging the ‘usual’ way of doing things, and spends a lot of time thinking creatively about how to simplify his livestock management and still drive profit for the business.

> Charley strives for new knowledge, having spent 2007 on a Nuffield Scholarship exploring the challenges of labour, genetics and capital to livestock enterprises.

> Since then, Charley has been convincing Andrea and implementing their theories on KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) at Barnside. Charley is a big fan of sharing knowledge through discussion groups and collecting farm data, which has led to strictly controlled genetics and a paddock grazing system at Barnside.

Michael Blanche

Independent Land Management and producer of PasturePod (a podcast channel on growing grass for profit).

The Michael Parkinson of the pasture world, organic farmer and grass specialist Michael Blanche will be the roving reporter at LILIS 2018. Michael will be capturing soundbites and interviews with delegates, speakers and hosts. The resulting podcast will form a record of the event and will no doubt be injected with Michael’s relaxed and cheerful style.


All press enquiries are to be directed to Iona St Joseph of Scene and Herd who manage the public relations for LILIS

For details on the event please contact LILIS manager, Debs Roberts of SOPA on 0773322 8701 or






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