Call for new cohort of Future Farmers

The Future Farmer Programme, delivered by Harper Adams University’s School of Sustainable Food and Farming, is again calling on young up-and-coming farmers to join the second year of the Programme, beginning in September 2024.

After a very successful first year of the programme, a further 75 places are up for grabs in the second year, aimed at farmers aged 40 and under who are interested in boosting their sustainable agriculture skills.

The programme was launched at the Royal Welsh Show in 2023, with the initial cohort of 75 learners joining the programme in early autumn last year. Having completed a nine-month programme of activities based around practical learning, those farmers are now preparing to complete their course in the coming months, following a Walk the Supply Chain event, held in the West Midlands countryside.

During the two days, the farmers visited ABP Food group’s sites in both Newport and Ellesmere, to find out more about the work of the group –which is one of Europe’s leading food processors.

They also visited the Sansaw estate, at Hadnall, near Shrewsbury, where a progressive dairy is coupled with a business park and tenanted cottages, to discuss sustainable land management.

And finally, the farmers visited the Halfpenny Green Vineyard, who pair their award-winning wines with wider attractions, including a restaurant, shop and deli, a craft village and a wild zoo.

Director of the School of Sustainable Food and Farming and Course Director Simon Thelwell said, “We’re really excited to be launching the second year of the Future Farmer Programme in partnership with Tesco. The cohort of farmers from the first year of the programme found the course incredibly valuable, and the in-person visits bring the course participants – who farm right across the UK – together, and let them talk to industry experts about their work.

“Visits like this are a key part of the mix of in-person and online learning which has been at the heart of the Future Farmer programme – with the online sessions designed to help fit around farmers’ busy lives, and the in-person elements both allowing them to talk with experts directly – but also to build networks with each other.

“We’re very grateful for all of the businesses who have lent us their time and expertise over the past year to help us bring some of the key concepts we have been discussing around sustainable agriculture to life in the field.”

Following this week’s sessions, the inaugural cohort will take part in a final event at East Malling in Kent in June – and registration is now open for the second year of the programme.

Tesco Head of Sustainable Agriculture and Fisheries, Natalie Smith, said, “The Future Farmer Programme has helped equip our farmers with a stronger understanding of the environmental challenges we’re facing, and how they can meet those challenges sustainably, both for our planet and for their business.

“As a leading supporter of British agriculture we wanted to make sure that our farmers, growers and suppliers have the skills they need to drive forward these improvements in sustainable farming – increasing productivity and animal health and welfare, reducing their carbon impact, and protecting and restoring nature.

“We’re delighted to see our first cohort of future farmers prepare to complete the programme, which has proved highly successful – and we’re looking forward to welcoming the next cohort this summer.”

Find out more about the programme

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