Emily Brown, Hannah Buisman and Thomas Saunders were selected from more than 100 applicants to join 11 other young people on the Student & Young Farmer Ambassador scheme.
The new group of ambitious students, farmers and agricultural workers will work with the NFU to represent the future of British farming over the next 12 months, both within the industry and to the wider public.
Amid increased input costs, potential new trade deals, issues with access to labour and changes in terms of agriculture policy following the Agriculture Act 2020, this means that this new cohort is set to play a vital role in representing the sector at a crucial time for British farming.
Emily Brown, 23, from Bedfordshire, is president of Harper Adams’ Student Union.
Emily said: “This is a great opportunity to act as a positive role model and promote British agriculture to a wider audience. I have grown up on a family farm, studied agriculture with farm business management and absolutely love being out in the countryside. There is nowhere else I would rather live.”
She is involved with Agrespect, which promotes and supports diversity in the countryside.
“Being able to work with the NFU on this is a brilliant opportunity to use my voice to help encourage people that it is okay to be different and the countryside should be a place where everyone can feel safe,” she said.
“I am also really interested in sustainable agriculture and also looking at diversification on farms to help stabilise farming incomes.”
Thomas Saunders, 20, is also from a farming family in Bedfordshire and is a student at Harper Adams. As chair of his local YFC, during lockdown he arranged for a social media video to be created to support dairy farmers by drinking pints of milk and he also arranged for his local NFU branch at Stagsden to give a Zoom talk to the club.
“Agriculture can be a very lonely industry, so it was important for me that we still met on Zoom, as for some people that is a social lifeline for them during the week,” he said.
Thomas is passionate about education and hopes to move into a career teaching geography after finishing his degree.
“I am excited that I will be able to convey the positive influences that sustainable farming practices can have on soils and rural communities when I am in the classroom,” he said.
Our third ambassador is Hannah Buisman, who studied languages at Durham University and now works full time with her parents on the family’s farm in Hertfordshire, an arable farm which will soon include a new vineyard. She is actively involved with Young Farmers.
Hannah said: “While I have always been passionate about British farming, connecting with like-minded individuals has given me a boost to do even more and this really attracted me to the ambassador programme.
“I am desperate to make a difference and I believe I can reach out to both those inside and outside the farming community, as I have seen agriculture from both sides.
“As well as promoting the role of British farmers, last year I set up ‘Spot the Crop’ signs across the farm to educate and encourage pride in what we grow, while discouraging trespassing. The reaction was so positive that I have now created a website with articles about British agriculture called ‘Agri Unwrapped’.”
Welcoming the 2022 cohort of ambassadors, NFU President Minette Batters said: “The success of the programme is clear with more than 100 enthusiastic young people applying to be ambassadors.
“There’s a brilliant range of agricultural roles represented by this group which is really exciting. From telling the fantastic story of British farming and sharing their own inspiring journeys, to working to further improve our industry, the next 12 months will be incredibly interesting.
“I can’t wait to see what mark this cohort will make and what we can achieve together.”