Thirteen young farmers have been selected to join the NFU’s first ever Student & Young Farmer North East Programme, a nine-month development programme designed to give participants behind-the-scenes access to some of the region’s most successful food and farming businesses.
The aim of the programme, which offered initially 12 but now 13 fully funded places, is to give younger farmers the opportunity to visit inspirational farm businesses, sophisticated supply chain operations and find out more about the NFU nationally and in Westminster, says acting NFU Regional Director Andrew Butler.
"We were delighted with the response from our student and young farmers across the region - and the quality of the applicants was such that after virtual interviews we added an extra place to work with 13 talented and incredibly enthusiastic members of our regional farming community," he added.
"Obviously the programme of visits has had to be rearranged in line with Coronavirus restrictions, but we are already rolling out some great virtual events for the first part of the programme including a Q&A session with NFU President, Minette Batters."
The Programme was developed in consultation with the region's Next Generation Champions group - which brings together 12 younger farmers from across the North East to help the NFU develop new and innovative ways of supporting its younger members.
Group leader, Olivia Richardson, says the Programme is an exciting start: "It is great to see the first programme get underway and with so much interest from young farmers across the region and in many different sectors," she said.
"I know all the participants are hungry for inspiration and knowledge as they begin to build their future careers and I'm delighted the NFU is able to support them, encourage them and bring them together to build new relationships that hopefully will last a lifetime."
The rearranged programme will still give participants a backstage pass to innovative, award-winning farm businesses, MH Poskitt near Goole and Beeswax Dyson Farming in Lincolnshire.
They will also have the chance to spend the day with Morrisons in Bradford, gaining an invaluable insight into the retailer’s unique integrated supply chain.
Finally, participants will visit the NFU's headquarters in Warwickshire and its London office, just a stone’s throw away from the Houses of Parliament, before spending two days at the national NFU Conference in February 2022 – a highlight of the farming year that in a normal year attracts more than 1,000 farmers and a range of key political and industry speakers.
Meet all the participants below: