Young Farmers to Debate Their Rural Futures

Members of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) will discuss their hopes and fears for a rural future post-Brexit with Farming Today presenter and NFYFC President Charlotte Smith at the organisation’s AGRI Brunch in Blackpool on 5 May.

Joining Charlotte Smith will be a panel of industry stalwarts who have enjoyed successful agri careers. They will offer critical advice to the next generation of farmers on diversifying businesses and tackling the challenges ahead.

Charlotte Smith

Charlotte Smith

The event, called the Big Ideas Brunch, which is sponsored by Kuhn Farm Machinery UK and supported by Defra, will be held on Saturday 5 May in the Pavilion Theatre at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool from 10.30am.

The AGRI Brunch is an important part of the Annual Convention weekend for YFC members and representatives from the agricultural and rural industries. This year’s discussion will highlight any concerns that young people are having about working in the industry now that Brexit negotiations are underway.

The panel includes Rob Boole, agronomist, owner of Boole crop specialists and founder of Greenway Training, Sir John Campbell, founder of the multi-million pound business Glenrath Farms and Chris Cardell, a Cornish tenant farmer.

NFYFC President Charlotte Smith, who will be facilitating the session at the Winter Gardens, said:
“NFYFC’s AGRI Brunch is a great opportunity for young farmers to get a load of insider advice from people who have been there, done it and succeeded!

“NFYFC’s panelists will offer crucial advice about developing businesses and embracing change. I can’t wait to hear their stories and learn how they have managed their careers.”

The AGRI Forum is organised by NFYFC’s Agricultural and Rural Issues (AGRI) Steering Group and a new topic is chosen annually.

AGRI Chairman James Hutchinson, from Wiltshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, said it was important to give young farmers the opportunity to discuss their rural futures with experts who had achieved plenty in the industry.

James Hutchinson said: “There’s never been a greater need for a highly-skilled and efficient workforce to keep the countryside thriving, producing great quality food, sustainable tourism and natural habitats - and boosting brand Britain!

“Any YFC members who are into technology and training, food, farming and the countryside should join us for this event to share their views and questions about their rural future. Our panel of experts are a great example of what can be achieved in this vast industry and we hope that everyone will be inspired by their ideas and wisdom.”

Kuhn Farm Machinery also sponsor the AGRI Steering Group as well as the AGRI Brunch event.

Siân Pritchard, Managing Director at Kuhn Farm Machinery (UK), said:
“As an active supporter and sponsor of the NFYFC Agri and Rural Steering Group, the Big Ideas Brunch is understandably one of the highlights in KUHN’s year with NFYFC. It’s the perfect platform for young farmers to learn from industry leaders, but also gives them an opportunity to share their point of view on today’s post-Brexit environment. We look forward to a lively discussion!”

The AGRI Brunch starts at 10.30am with free bacon rolls and a chance to network with young farmers and industry exhibitors before the debate begins at 11am.

Biographies of Speakers
Rob Boole is a qualified agronomist who runs a contract spraying business in partnership with his parents and his wife Charlotte. The husband and wife team are also partners of Greenway Training.

Boole crop specialists are a one stop shop for managing crops, supplying application only, on a seasonal or ad-hoc basis, or a full crop walking and chemical supply route.

Charlotte and Rob run an award-winning training centre specialising in accredited courses for the land based sector. The pair first started the enterprise because they were concerned about the number of accidents occurring on family run farms. In 2014 they decided to organise a few first aid courses for their young farming friends. In 2015, Greenway Training was launched. This successful farm diversification enterprise now offers a large range of accessible courses within a working farm environment. Converted cowsheds have been used to create light airy classrooms and dedicated training workshops. These facilities along with an office and kitchen make excellent use of otherwise redundant farm buildings.

Sir John Campbell is a Peebleshire farmer and founder of Glenrath Farms in West Linton. He gained the recognition for his services to farming and charitable service to entrepreneurship and received a knighthood in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list.

His company is the biggest business employer in the Borders and has an annual turnover well in excess of £50 million and it produces, packs and sells almost 1.5 million eggs per day and has now grown to be one of the UK’s leading egg suppliers. Sir John started his career on a hill farm in Argyllshire at 15 along with his brother. They were so successful they were soon able to buy out the tenancy.

When he turned 27, he and his wife Cathy moved to Peeblesshire and acquired Glenrath. Sir John has taken an interest in developing young people who are just starting out in the industry and launched a scheme that offers low-interest loans to young farmers wanting to start producing eggs on contract for the business.

The firm is managed by the family, with all of John and Cathy’s four children working for the company. Their eldest son Ian is now managing director.

Sir John has won the UK Farm Business of the Year Award in the House of Commons, twice; has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Egg Commission; has received an honorary fellowship of Scotland’s Rural College and was awarded an OBE at the millennium for services to the farming industry.

Chris Cardell was elected as national spokesperson for the NFU National Tenants' Group in 2014.

A farmer from Cornwall Chris appreciates the many challenges in the marketplace. He has worked hard to raise the profile of the services available to all NFU members, on land and rental issues and to provide a viable sector for both existing tenants and landlords. He has championed alternative agreements that play a role in the industry's future for existing farmers, land owners and new entrants.

A Cornish tenant dairy farmer and proprietor of Roseland Kennels & Cattery, near Truro, Chris supplies milk to Rodda's Creamery through Arla. He is NFU Cornwall County Chairmen, south west NFU Tenant Spokesman.


Other Event Links
link Great New Products at the British Pig & Poultry Fair
link ASAO Chairman is Awarded Top Agricultural Award
link HRH The Prince of Wales looks to the future at Newton Rigg College
link Soil Health a Key Focus at Cereals 2018
link Show Dates