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    DEFRA plan to aid new entrants into farming and agriculture

    NewsWednesday 02 January 2013
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    The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced that they will be working hard to ensure that more young people work in food and agriculture in the future. 
     
    The announcement was made today (2 Jan 2013) by Farming Minister David Heath (pictured), who said: “With rising world population, Britain has a massive opportunity to grow and export more food, and to do so sustainably. So we need to encourage new blood into the industry.
     
    “I’m not just talking about giving people more access to land or getting them on production lines but allowing youngsters to really embrace new ideas and technology for rewarding, well-paid careers.”
     
    Farming and other industries including science and engineering will be required to fill thousands more high-skilled posts in the coming years, according to DEFRA’s press release. 
     
    They have stated that this is because of the huge potential for growth caused by a rising global population, increasing demand for western-style diets around the world and the need to reduce the environmental footprint of food production.
     
    A Future of Farming review will be carried out to investigate how to improve the access for talented and entrepreneurial young people into the industry and also how to make it a more attractive career choice. 
     
    Mr Heath is a large part of the proposals and as a part of the drive to hear the views of as many people as possible, he will be launching a Twitter competition for five young people to meet him and discuss the issues. 
     
    The Future of Farming group will be led by David Fursdon, Chairman of the South West Rural and Farming Network and former President of the Country Land and Business Association.
     
    Combining expertise inside and outside farming, it will tour the country and seek ideas and views from a wide cross section of the agricultural sector from farming to science.
     
    “Producing food more sustainably is a huge challenge and we can only hope to meet it by having the right people entering the industry.” Said Mr Fursdon.
     
    “To make this happen, we want to listen to young people’s experiences to make sure the right people are entering the industry and have the support to establish their businesses.
     
    “I’m looking forward to pushing on with this work and building on the work already being carried out within industry to come up with some new ideas.”
     
    The Future of Farming Group will examine issues affecting new entrants to the industry, including:
     
    • Future workforce and skills needs of the industry
    • Different entry routes into farming, such as buying property, tenancy, share farming, contracting, farm management, employment, apprenticeship
    • Wider opportunities that are offered in agriculture, such graduate schemes in science, engineering and research
    • The challenges facing new entrants such as lack of training, access to land, access to capital
    • The challenge facing employers in finding the right people, such as the image of the industry
     
    So far the Future of Farming group contains: 
     
    David Fursdon – Chair;
    Robert Law, National Farmers Union;
    Des Lambert, Plumpton College;
    Martin Redfearn, Barclays Business;
    Ross Murray, Country Land and Business Association;
    Jeremy Moody, Central Association of Agricultural Valuers;
    Jo North, Young farmer;
    George Dunn, Tenant Farmers Association;
    David Yiend, Careers in Farming and Food Supply initiative;
    Nick Ritblat, Consultant, Chair of the Bank of England Residential Property Forum; and
    Richard Longthorp, Agri-Skills Forum.
     
    For the twitter competition to meet Mr Heath, we want young people across the country to tweet @Defragovuk with what they see as the key barriers facing their future in farming, using #meetfm.
     
    All entries must be tweeted by Thursday 24 January 2013. David Heath will then review all the responses and invite five individuals to meet him at the Houses of Parliament to feed their ideas into the review.
     
    To send your views to the Future of Farming Review simpy visit – www.defra.gov.uk/food-farm/farm-manage/future-review
     
    Picture courtesy of DEFRA
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