Harper Adams partners with Tesco on new sustainable agriculture programme

Harper Adams partners with Tesco on new sustainable agriculture programme

The launch of a new three-year programme designed to help young British farmers develop their skills in sustainable agriculture has been announced by Tesco and Harper Adams University’s School of Sustainable Food and Farming (SSFF).

Young farmers are encouraged to apply before the programme’s start date in October.

A survey titled Route to Success conducted by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs suggests that young farmers are keen to learn more about sustainability and the environment within the context of the UK agriculture industry.

Implementing sustainable agriculture practices and protecting biodiversity will be areas of focus in the face-to-face and live online training programme, which will be attended by 75 young farmers. The nine month course, which will run each year for the next three years, will also include events and mentoring sessions on business operations and personal development.

The Future Farmer Programme will start in October, and farmers under 40 from across different agricultural sectors and at different stages of their development will be encouraged to apply.

Simon Thelwell, director of the School of Sustainable Food and Farming at Harper Adams University said: “We are entering a hugely exciting but challenging next chapter for UK Agriculture. The transition to more sustainable food production systems is a significant change for many farmers, and so understanding these issues, identifying the opportunities they present, and being prepared to make change is the key focus of the course.

“The course is split into three focus areas, Understanding Sustainability – which will explore the key drivers and opportunities for the industry; Agile Mindsets – which will help participants identify their own strengths, capabilities and weaknesses; and Agile Business, which will help them structure and adapt their business, existing or new, and to identify new opportunities and methods for a sustainable future.”

Addressing key sustainability challenges in UK agriculture

Tesco has stated that it will also fund research projects aimed at addressing some of the key sustainability challenges affecting agriculture as part of its partnership with SSFF.

The first project will aim to bring together a range of different sectors of Tesco’s agricultural supply base in order to understand how UK land can be managed in a way that is environmentally and economically sustainable for all parties involved in an agricultural rotation.

At the launch of the programme at the Royal Welsh Show, Ashwin Prasad, Tesco’s chief product officer said: “British agriculture plays a crucial role in protecting and enhancing our natural environment and will be right at the heart of the UK’s efforts to achieve its net zero ambitions. It’s also had to overcome some incredibly tough challenges over the past two years, which is why we’re committed to supporting it, both now and in the future.

“With this in mind, I’m delighted to be launching this new programme with Harper Adams University, which will see some of the brightest young talents in the industry benefit from training and support in implementing sustainable agriculture techniques, helping to safeguard the industry, and our natural environment, for future generations.”

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