A new group of young beet growers is being assembled by NFU Sugar to learn more about the industry they’re involved in.
The Sugar Industry Programme was launched in 2010/11 in conjunction with British Sugar. It is an initiative designed to engage younger growers through training and development.
Now in its fourth year, 15 new participants will take part in the programme, spread over individual days between now and March 2014. They will learn all about the sugar beet sector and how the NFU influences, adopts and communicates policy to growers.
The programme kicked off this week with a visit to the largest of British Sugar’s four UK factories at Wissington, Norfolk.
More than three million tonnes of sugar beet is delivered into the factory every campaign, produced by some 1,200 growers who all farm within 50km of the factory gates.
British Sugar Head of Agricultural Operations, Mark Culloden, gave an overview of the business which is part of AB Sugar, wholly owned by international food, ingredients and retail group, Associated British Foods PLC. He also explained that the site produces much more than sugar and includes a bioethanol plant and the UK’s largest single tomato glasshouse, which covers an area of 18 hectares.
The group was then given a tour of the factory site to see the various elements that go in to producing sugar such as purification and crystallisation.
NFU Sugar board chairman William Martin said: “The aim of this programme is to give younger growers a real and valuable experience of the work of both the NFU and British Sugar and for them to take home some new skills in the process.
“The programme has been running since 2010 and has been hugely successful so far, receiving praise and plaudits from participants and those involved.”