21-11-2013 01:51 AM | News, Shows and Events, Supermarkets

Tesco launches Future Farmer Foundation

Tesco has launched a project aimed at supporting the next generation of farmers in the UK, called the Future Farmer Foundation, by helping them embark on new business ventures.

In its first year, Tesco will offer a minimum of fifteen young people a bespoke package of leadership training, business planning advice, mentoring, supply chain experience and networking opportunities.

Successful applicants will be able to choose a programme suited to their own aspirations and business needs, and it’s hoped the Foundation will also be able to offer training and support to dozens more young farmers during the application process itself.

Richard Marris, Commercial Director of Fresh Foods at Tesco said: “We’re committed to the success of British agriculture, and we want the next generation of farmers, with all their energy, talent, and dedication, to be working with us for decades to come. Whether it’s guidance on succession planning, advice on financial management, or providing access to a world-leading supply chain, we’ve developed the Future Farmer Foundation to be a strong base from which the farmers of tomorrow can launch themselves onto their chosen paths.”

Beth Bennett, aged 20, doesn’t come from a farming background, but now manages a 16,000 hen free range egg production unit. Bennett piloted the supply chain experience element of the Foundation, and found it invaluable: “The scheme can help you develop yourself as a person to be able to achieve what you want in agriculture. Looking into the supply chain, it’s been very beneficial to be able to go to the processing plant, and to go to Tesco’s headquarters to talk to the technical managers and buyers, to understand what the customer wants.”

Similarly, 21 year old Sophie Barnes, is new to agriculture, having moved to the countryside six years ago has built up her own flock of 150 ewes: “I know I’m lacking when it comes to business skills – I can look after my sheep, but I’ve never had anyone teach me how to write a business plan. The courses that the Foundation offers, specifically tailored to helping with an agricultural business plan, are something I can’t get anywhere else. It’s ideal.”

Dan Luff is 26 and farms a herd of beef cattle in partnership with his parents. He’s positive about the training he has received: “The scheme has helped me by adding new skills to my repertoire, in the way of negotiation skills, helping me with time management and leadership style.”

National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ Acting CEO James Eckley said: “As one of the largest rural youth organisations in England and Wales, NFYFC works to support young people living in rural areas. The Future Farmer Foundation compliments much of the work we do in helping to develop the leadership and business skills of rural young people and we would encourage our members to take up this fantastic opportunity to further their careers in agriculture.”


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