26 November 2009
The importance of tenant farming, and what needs to be done to secure its future, were top of the agenda at the NFU 2009 National Tenant Farmers' Conference at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire.
The conference, chaired by NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond, attracted some of the industry’s leading figures including Julian Sayers, of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and Stephen Morgan, the out-going rural chairman of the Association of Chief Estate Surveyors.
NFYFC agriculture & rural affairs committee (ARAC) chairwoman Katherine Sealy told the conference that the NFYFC’s recent Your Future and Farming survey of members, in conjunction with Lantra, had helped to provide research into the issues facing young people as they look to enter the industry.
She said 83 per cent of those surveyed were considering a career in farming and 57 per cent aspired to become farm owners at some point in the next 15 years. Seventeen per cent of those considering a future in farming wanted to be tenant farmers.
Katherine added that retention of council farms was one of the ARAC committee’s five manifesto points, and that NFYFC was working alongside other organisations to highlight the importance of retaining these estates.
She stressed there was a need for more tenancy opportunities for new entrants, but that they had to be long enough to attract the necessary financial and business investment.
“We know from the entries to our farm business development competition that there are young entrepreneurs in the waiting, however, there must be enough available opportunities,” she said.
NFYFC in conjunction with Savills and Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) are currently rolling regional tenancy training events to help improve young farmers’ business skills.
Katherine summed up with a plea for policy makers to consider young farmers when making decisions; for landowners to think about where their future tenants might live and their social responsibilities; for viable tenancies to encourage financial and time investment; and for tenants to adopt a more business-like attitude to secure the future of farming.
Speaking after the conference, Katherine said: “Evidence from the NFYFC/Lantra survey, that the next generation of farmers are looking forward to a career and a future in agriculture, provided the conference with hope for the young farmers of the future.
“It prompted discussion about how farming and rural communities can be sustained as affordable places to live and work, emphasising the need for flexible tenancy opportunities to reflect the fact that finance is considered a major barrier to entering farming.
“The message from NFYFC to the conference was that the future of farming is going to be different but, with the training offered through the ARAC tenancy training days and through the Fresh Start Academies, young farmers are better prepared and they see opportunities rather than obstacles. The future of farming is going to be different, but it is in safe hands.”
25 November 2009
New NFYFC tenancy training days have been hailed a huge success, with delegates from counties across the south west attending the oversubscribed first event in Exeter this month.
YFC members representing every county federation in the region attended the first of the three free training events in conjunction with Savills and the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA).
They were given the chance to learn more about how to successfully secure a farm tenancy, polish up their farm business skills and ask questions of the experts at the event, including Clive Beer, Savills’ head of rural professional services; Ashley Lilley, Savills’ agribusiness consultant and TFA chief executive George Dunn.
NFYFC agriculture & rural affairs committee chairwoman Katherine Sealy said: “It was good to see so many young farmers from across the south west wanting to find out more about how they can make better tenancy applications.
“The event was oversubscribed, and I hope that this will give more people confidence to put into practice what they learned by entering the NFYFC farm business development competition next year.
“It certainly confirmed that there are plenty of forward-thinking young farmers ready to grab opportunities with both hands,” added Katherine.
Further training events are planned for:
An additional non-Defra-funded event will take place on 22 January 2010 at the Builth Wells YFC Centre in Wales.
Visit www.nfyfc.org.uk/agriculturaltraining for more information
25 November 2009
Don't forget to register for your free place for this new AgriLIVE Smithfield event at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, on 11-12 December, including the young producers breakfast on the Saturday morning.
It is open to all producers under 30 and will provide a networking opportunity as well as bringing together the next generation to debate key industry issues.
The event showcases the latest developments, products, services and advice in one place for the whole red meat supply chain, from farmer to retailer.
More details online at www.agrilivesmithfield.co.uk
23 November 2009
Budding entrepreneurs looking to get a footing in rural business are being offered free help and support from Northamptonshire Fresh Start Academy which is being relaunched in January.
The Fresh Start Academy, a national initiative offering training in various forms of business management, was introduced in Northamptonshire two years ago to help farmers of the future and is now being relaunched with a broader remit to encourage entrepreneurs in all types of rural business.
“Academy members will now be allocated a mentor who can help them develop their business ideas and answer questions as their business grows,” said James Fulton, a business consultant with Berrys at Kettering, one of several local businesses sponsoring the academy.
“We are keen to extend the initiative to help rural entrepreneurs develop personal skills such as negotiating, staff management, self appraisal and presentations as well as offering them ideas and training in subjects such as diversification, renewable energy, cooperation and business management.
“The mentor will assist with personal and business development and help them seek further training opportunities,” James added.
The first meeting of the new academy will take place on Thursday 28 January 2010, 7.30pm at Moulton College Management Centre.
For further details contact Fresh Start Coordinators Kate Everard on 01604 670562, email email@example.com or James O’Gram on 01223 813622, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
23 November 2009
Competitors from across England and Wales put their stockjudging skills to the test at the English Winter Fair at Staffordshire County Showground over the weekend.
Gloucestershire's Vicky Hicks took away the title of senior carcase judge of the year for 2009, while Staffordshire's Matthew Wright was victorious as intermediate carcase judge.
20 November 2009
NFYFC's Christine Hope has been named one of the Future 100 Young Social Entrepreneurs for 2009.
Herefordshire YFC's Christine, last year's personal development committee chairwoman, was recognised as a founder and partner at Hopes of Longtown, by the awards which recognise, encourage and reward extraordinary vision, ethical business practice and social responsibility.
The awards put the spotlight on young people aged 18-35 that offer innovative and sustainable solutions to social problems.
Christine's business, Hopes of Longtown, aims to combine the qualities of the farmers market with the convenience of a superstore, sustaining local economies. She also opened a second store last month, Hopes of Poston, and, with a pig, composter and Wiggly Wormery, has put a strategy in place to minimise waste.
Christine said: “I am surprised and delighted to be listed. We may only be small but we make a big difference, hopefully we can encourage others to do the same.”
Visit www.future100.co.uk for more information about the awards and the winners.
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