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2 January 2013|Appointments,Finance,News

DEFRA plans to attract new talent to farming


A drive to encourage more young people to work in the food and farming industries has been unveiled by Farming Minister David Heath.

The Future of Farming review will investigate how to improve access for talented youth. The industries targeted by the drive will need to fill thousands more high-skilled posts in the coming years.

This is because of demand for growth caused by a rising world population, increasing demand for western-style diets and the need to reduce the environmental impact of food production, said Heath.

As part of the drive, Heath is launching a twitter competition for five young people to meet him and discuss the issues.

"With rising world population, Britain has a massive opportunity to grow and export more food, and to do so sustainably. So we need to encourage new blood into the industry" Heath said.

"I’m not just talking about giving people more access to land or getting them on production lines but allowing youngsters to really embrace new ideas and technology for rewarding, well-paid careers."

The group will be led by David Fursdon, Chairman of the South West Rural and Farming Network and former President of the Country Land and Business Association.

Combining expertise inside and outside farming, it will tour the country and seek ideas and views from a wide cross section of the agricultural sector from farming to science.

Fursdon said: "Producing food more sustainably is a huge challenge and we can only hope to meet it by having the right people entering the industry."

"To make this happen, we want to listen to young people’s experiences to make sure the right people are entering the industry and have the support to establish their businesses."

"I’m looking forward to pushing on with this work and building on the work already being carried out within industry to come up with some new ideas."

The Future of Farming Group will examine issues affecting new entrants to the industry, including: future workforce and skills needs of the industry; different entry routes into farming, such as buying property, tenancy, share farming, contracting, farm management, employment, apprenticeship; wider opportunities that are offered in agriculture, such graduate schemes in science, engineering and research; the challenges facing new entrants such as lack of training, access to land, access to capital; and the challenge facing employers in finding the right people, such as the image of the industry.

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