Agricultural researchers from across the world met at a Devon university campus which is due to close.
Seale Hayne campus is due to close in 2004
The University of Plymouth, which hosted the event at its Seale Hayne campus, intends to relocate Seale Hayne students to its city campus in 2004.
Campaigners fighting to keep Seale Hayne have vowed to take legal action if the University of Plymouth sells the site.
About 130 delegates from as far afield as Japan and America attended the UK Agricultural Economics Society Conference.
But while delegates discussed issues such as the increasing significance of the rural economy on the world, the only topic on the mind of students is the impending closure of the college.
The South West Area of the National Union of Students said: "The University of Plymouth is one of the most diverse universities in the country. Students have benefited from this diverse nature and the smaller communities of which we feel have enhanced student life.
"We were shocked by this decision as we feel it is grossly unfair.
"In this age of student hardship, students can not be expected to fund the extra costs of re-locating."
The university says that because most science courses are now based in Plymouth, it makes sense to centralise facilities and expertise.
It said in a statement it was "particularly happy for Seale Hayne to host the conference on a subject that lies within one of its main areas of interest".