Off to a flying start, attendee Luke Hargrave reports on the first meeting of this year’s Cereal Development Programme.
The 2018/19 NFU and Openfield Cereals Development programme has gotten off to a great start and I firstly would like to say thank you to both organisations for giving us the opportunity to attend the programme.
The meetings began with an opening dinner in Grantham close to Openfield head office, which provided a great chance for the fifteen candidates to meet. The group has come from all areas of the country, bringing together a wide range of knowledge and experiences. It is great to see the passion within the group towards agriculture.
Following the meal, representatives from the NFU, Openfield and previous years’ candidates made us all feel very welcome and provided us with an insight into what is ahead over the coming months.
The following day we all embarked on Openfield HQ to begin increasing our knowledge of the grain trade and how the company operates. Head of operations Mark Worrell kicked the day off with an opening introduction to the company which had us fixated from the start. Mark was followed by the wonderful mind of Cecilia Pryce who blew us away with her knowledge of both the grain trade and compliance including the surrounding issues and possible consequences to us as growers. It hit home the responsibilities we have to keep our records accurate and up to date due to contracts constantly developing to meet changes in legislation and a desire to improve. A bit of advice for future candidates: you will need a pen and thick pad when Cecilia is talking as you will learn a lot! I myself have taken a huge amount of valuable information away from this first meeting to use on farm.
After a fantastic spread put on for us at lunch, we moved onto the tour of the site seeing the buzz of the trading office, complicated logistics and finally the seed plant. The quality of the seed operation and facilities was outstanding and it was brilliant to witness the passion of the people on this side of the plant which was a credit to the business.
The final part of the day was an introduction to the supply chain and an overview of the stock market and a grain marketer’s place in this. My eyes were well and truly opened to an area of selling and purchasing grain which I have never been involved in before.
Looking back at how much I have taken away from this first visit and the amount I have learnt from it, I cannot wait for the future visits over the coming months.
On behalf of the whole group, I would like to thank Openfield for giving us the time, sharing their knowledge and opening their doors to us for the day.
The next event in the CDP diary is a visit to NFU HQ this week where candidiates will also undergo training to futher their personal development. Look out for the next blog installment!