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    DEFRA offers cash boost to farmers to aid productivity challenge

    NewsTuesday 05 February 2013
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    DEFRA’s Regional Development Programme for England will be offering a £490,000 grant that will be aimed at helping farmers and growers in the future. 
     
    The grant will help farmers and growers to meet the challenge of producing more from the same land using fewer inputs and greater regard for the environment. 
     
    It is being supplemented by industry match funding and it will give levy board AHDB a possible cash injection of over £700,000 for new skills and training in crops.
     
    The aim is to ensure that the advanced technical skills in crops including horticulture and the tree fruit sectors become farm-level practice. 
     
    The AHDB has stated that it will fund 25,000 hours of training for over 2,000 farmers and growers across England, beginning in January 2013 and ending in March 2014. 
     
    With industry match funding, this brings the total amount secured by AHDB to boost knowledge transfer to farmers under the current RDPE programme to £2.2m, following successful previous bids.
     
    The training will be focused on arable, oilseed, potato and horticultural producers, and will be staged in those regions where the specific crops and produce are farmed.
     
    It has also been stated that the training programme will be kept flexible in order to be able to respond quickly to industry demand. And, it will also include a programme of practical workshops and seminars featuring experts from within the industry and top scientists.
     
    Project leader Tess Howe said: “This grant award is all about making additional work possible that will inspire the whole of our industry to help growers grow produce in new and better ways that are better for businesses, consumers and the environment.
     
    “With increasing demands placed on resources, it’s vital farm businesses get all the latest knowledge they’re going to need to stay competitive in a global market.
     
    Programme events will focus on... 
     
    For growers: Advanced husbandry; Rotation and crop choice; Agronomy activity; Producing to a Spec; Optimising value; Maintaining soil structure
     
    For agronomists and advisers: Technical updates; Research updates; Understanding factors affecting productivity 
     
    Picture: Eamon Curry
     
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