Find out about the Sugar Industry Programme

28 September 2023

The Sugar Industry Programme logo next to the 2022 cohort holding a back british sugar sign

Are you a sugar beet grower? Do you want to learn more about the inner workings of the UK sugar industry? Learn more about the NFU Sugar Industry Programme here. 

Please note applications for this year have now closed.

Jointly funded by NFU Sugar and British Sugar, the Sugar Industry Programme includes a wide range of visits covering the entirety of the UK sugar supply chain and beyond and represents a fantastic opportunity for growers to learn more about the industry, build valuable lasting connections and develop their professional skills.

Participants also have the opportunity to build their professional skills through a number of training and development sessions, including media training, presentation skills training, and ‘ask the expert’ workshops covering everything from public affairs and advocacy to sugar trading.

Sugar Industry Programme 2023/24

See the full programme below:

Sugar Industry Programme 2023/24 Dates
Opening event – Kings Lynn
Day 1 – Germains factory tour, dinner & overnight stay
Day 2 – Media training
25-26 October 2023
Sugar beet factory tour – Wissington, Norfolk 9 November 2023
BBRO day – Norwich 7 December 2023
Strube – Söllingen, Germany
Day 1 – Introductions, dinner & overnight stay
Day 2 – Facility tour, dinner & overnight stay
Day 3 –Return travel
17-19 January 2024

Westminster visit – London
Day 1 – Political introduction, Parliamentary reception, dinner & overnight stay
Day 2 – House of Commons tour

5-6 February 2024

NFU Conference – Birmingham
Day 1 – Conference, dinner and overnight stay
Day 2 – Conference

20-21 February 2024
Closing event – NFU HQ, Stoneleigh
Day 1 – Presentation training, dinner and overnight stay
4-5 March 2024

The alumni view: Ed Dale

Ed is Farm Manager at Stetchworth Estate in East Anglia and participated in the programme in 2019/20.

“The SIP is something I would recommend to anyone who has an association with the sugar industry,” says Ed. “Whether you’ve grown up alongside the industry or you’re a relative newbie the depth and breadth of the programme offers fresh insights at all levels.

“The programme offers a range of different experiences that cover off not only the obvious sectors of the industry such a visit to one of British Sugar’s Factories and a visit to the BBRO but it also encompasses some of the less well known work that goes on such as the work of the NFU Sugar Board.

“A particular highlight of the SIP was our visit to Belgium. There we visited the SESVanderHave Research Facility and Raffinerie Tirlemontoise, a sugar beet refinery on the outskirts of Tienen. It was interesting to learn about how sugar beet was thought of in Belgium. The challenges and concerns they had and how they were planning to tackle them.

“Another benefit of the SIP is it puts you in contact with other people who work within different sectors of the industry. The SIP is open to delegates from across the industry, whether that be growers, agronomists, land agents, British Sugar employees or seed processors, all are welcome to apply and in turn that provides a great networking opportunity.”

Feedback from our 2021/22 participants

“For me, the highlight of the SIP (Sugar Industry Programme) was meeting people with differing perspectives and experiences that made the SIP so valuable. Interacting with people I don’t usually get to meet broadened my view on this exciting industry in which we work. New friendships formed through interesting, shared experiences such as the parliament visit. I would definitely recommend the programme.”
Wayne Tonge, BBRO

“The SIP has offered a great opportunity to gain a deeper knowledge about everything that happens outside the factory. It gave a great insight into all the work that goes in to provide what we see on the supermarket shelf and makes me proud to be part of the industry.”
Marcus Cox, British Sugar

“The SIP has been a fantastic opportunity to learn from key stakeholders about all aspects of the sugar industry from crop breeding programmes through to production, processing and policy. It was very enjoyable and has provided great contacts from across the industry. I would thoroughly recommend anyone that has the opportunity to go on the course to take it.”
Josh Crick, Brown & Co

“As a grower, the SIP provided a great opportunity to see the industry beyond the farm gate, from factory to finish, as well as all the great work that goes into breeding and seed production before it reaches the farm gate. It is a great chance to network and I would highly recommend it.”
Rob Woodhouse, grower

“The SIP has been a unique experience with a chance to meet like minded people and it has given me the opportunity to have access to the wider industry. Following a couple of testing years for sugar beet growing and the huge volatility currently being faced across the whole agricultural sector, it’s been great to see so much enthusiasm for sugar beet growing in the UK and here’s to a profitable future for the crop.”
George Daniel, grower

“I knew the Sugar Industry Programme was going to be a brilliant opportunity but the total experience was beyond my initial expectations. From a technical perspective, it was fascinating to visit Germain’s and KWS to explore the work they do with beet seed and pelleting. However, my SIP highlights would be visiting Parliament and Westminster closely followed by the tour of Wissington sugar factory. I was taken aback seeing the full process from beet intake and washing through to LimeX production and packing the finished sugar product. I would highly recommend this programme in the future to anyone working with sugar beet!”
Alice Clews, agronomist

Ask us a question about this page

Once you have submitted your query someone from NFU CallFirst will contact you. If needed, your query will then be passed to the appropriate NFU policy team.

You have 0 characters remaining.

By completing the form with your details on this page, you are agreeing to have this information sent to the NFU for the purposes of contacting you regarding your enquiry. Please take time to read the NFU’s Privacy Policy if you require further information.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.