Pasture for Life launches Farm for the Future programme

FROM THIS month, Pasture for Life will launch the Royal Countryside Fund (RCF) Farm for the Future (FftF) Programme, which will be run by Rachael Wells and Sarah Juggins in their respective regions.

The programme is a two-year/two-cohort programme aimed at increasing farm resilience in the face of policy change. This is the second year that the RCF programme is running but the first time it has been delivered by Pasture for Life (PfL).

Both the Thames and Thames Valley programme and the programmes running in the East Midlands and East Anglia are open to existing Pasture for Life members as well as livestock farmers from outside the organisation.

Crucial to the success of the programmes are the regional facilitators. For the Thames and Thames Valley, Rachael Wells, a long-standing PfL member, will work with Cotswold farmer Matt Elliot. In the East of England, Sarah Juggins will tap into the knowledge, experience and enthusiasm of Hannah Thorogood in the East Midlands and Rebecca Mayhew in East Anglia.

The Farm for the Future programme comprises a welcome meeting, two core workshops on the environment and business, plus four more specific topic workshops. All the workshops are delivered by experts in their field but, more importantly, practitioners with lived experiences of working with or around livestock. Many of those delivering the courses are PfL members, who are highly tuned to what livestock farmers need in order to improve their business efficiency and sustainability.

While the course differs from region to region, matching the needs of the local area, the general themes are similar. Topics will include animal health, reducing inputs, improving soil health through grazing management systems, farming with nature, improving farm efficiency and selling produce. Crucially, the course programme has been developed in collaboration with farmers, so that they are relevant, necessary and will add value to farm businesses.

Rachael Wells said, “The enthusiasm from the people who have signed up for the programme and what they would like to be covered is contagious. So many good ideas and offers to host. I am really looking forward to meeting everyone in person.”

“Our WhatsApp group is positively buzzing,” said Sarah Juggins. “Every time I think we have finished for the day, Hannah or Rebecca will message me with a ‘What about doing…?’ In a way it is a shame the course is only six workshops in total, we have enough content ideas to fill a week-long conference.’

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