Two long-running agricultural courses have been postponed for twelve months due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 70th Advanced Course in Agricultural Business Management (ACABM), due to start in November 2020, will now be delayed until 2021.
The Worshipful Company of Farmers (WCF), Royal Agricultural University (RAU) and Duchy College announced the news.
Meanwhile the 25th Challenge of Rural Leadership (CRL), scheduled for January 2021, will commence in January 2022.
Richard Davies, WCF Chairman of Education, said organisers 'reluctantly concluded' that a postponement of 12 months for both courses was 'necessary'.
“While disappointing, the postponement will maintain the quality and integrity of these two highly regarded courses and ensure no compromise in the experience for delegates.”
Mr Davies explained that the decision had been influenced by the likelihood of on-going social distancing measures through the winter months.
“It will be better for potential delegates, the course delivery teams and the roster of senior, visiting speakers, if we take this early, positive decision,” he said.
Applications already received will be carried forward to the new dates, but the WCF has urged potential applicants not to put off an application for one of the limited places, despite the postponement.
Revised closing dates for applications will be 30 June 2021 for the 70th ACABM and 30 September 2021 for the 25th CRL.
The WCF explained that the two courses are a 'major part' of the group's charitable activity, and have made a 'significant contribution' to the farming industry.
“Following Brexit and the Covid-19 crisis, management and leadership skills will become even more important as we move into what may be described as a new ‘third era of farming’," said David Bolton, Master of the WCF.
“We look forward to gathering the usual high-quality cohort of delegates for the 25th CRL and 70th ACABM over the coming months.
"Our re-scheduled courses will help them to identify and overcome the challenges they will undoubtedly face in the future.”