New guide helps young farmers with business planning

The online guide for young farmers and YFCs includes information about conservation agriculture
The online guide for young farmers and YFCs includes information about conservation agriculture

A new online guide has been created for young farmers to help with their career and business planning during an uncertain period of agricultural transition.

The Fit for Business Guide is one component of NFYFC's three-part Building Skills project, funded by Defra, which also includes bespoke training for YFCs.

The guide includes information about conservation agriculture, the role of integrated pest management (IPM) and agroforestry, as well as links to further resources.

It builds on NFYFC’s work with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) to bring information on conservation farming practices at the Allerton Project Farm to young farmers.

GWCT’s project researches the effects of different farming methods on the environment and identifies management that delivers benefits for sustainable food production as well as environmental good.

This work covers natural capital accounting, agri-environment schemes and regenerative farming systems.

Joe Stanley, GWCT’s head of training, said the online guide was 'timely' as it acknowledged the need for additional skills to accommodate the government's emerging policies.

“With a training offer to share good practice and a farm to demonstrate the commercial benefits, NFYFC and GWCT are pleased to collaborate on a project to help share news, offer training and signpost for further information during this time of transition.

"We hope this guide helps young farmers identify the skills they may need, information to help progress their career or land management plans and provide training options.”

Members of the YFC AGRI group met in June at the Allerton Project Farm to discuss the skills needed for emerging policies, fledgling businesses and new entrant opportunities.

Members of the group made the most of sharing their farming and land management experience whilst considering future business viability and skills needed.

In a discussion that explored ways to help new entrants and next generation farmers deliver sustainability, the group agreed that clear food labelling showing environmental impact will be part of the necessary marketing tools for consumer awareness.

They also agreed there was a need for a practical, realistic approach to the effects of seismic policy change and trade deals.

Groups of YFC members will also visit the Allerton Farm project to gain insight on its working practices too, as part of the Building Skills project.

Outgoing YFC AGRI Chairman and poultry farmer, Tom Pope said a fresh approach of collaborative support for skills and establishing sustainable businesses were high on young farmers’ agendas.

"The Fit for Future Business Guide is something I whole-heartedly recommend that is read and shared," he said.

"Young farmers can make the most of the wealth of information that has been researched and put into practice by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust."