Video: Young farmer highlights role crop protection plays

Agronomist Sean Sparling (L) with George Baxter, from Cambridgeshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs
Agronomist Sean Sparling (L) with George Baxter, from Cambridgeshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs

An educational video featuring a young farmer highlights the role crop protection plays in food production and the career opportunities available in agronomy.

The film, launched by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC), features an interview with agronomist Sean Sparling, Chairman of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC).

In the video, Mr Sparling explains the importance of crop protection in the food process.

“Everything we do is geared to the health of the plant and protecting the environment. What we’re trying to do is to ensure the food we produce at the end of the process is safe for people to eat and there will be plenty of it,” he said.



With 30,000 species of plant pests and 10,000 species of insect pests, the video shows how agronomists follow an integrated approach to pest management.

“80% of the insects in an oil seed rape canopy for example are beneficial,” he added, “they’re friends to us and we don’t want to damage these. I would say in nine out of 10 of my visits on farm we don’t resort to spraying.”



The video was filmed in Lincolnshire and supported by the Crop Protection Association.

It follows on from a Defra-funded project with LEAF Education to develop a training session called Future Farming that is available for both YFCs and year 9 school children.

NFYFC said it wants to spread the message about the career paths available for young people in the food and farming industries.

“It’s a very hands-on, practical video that shows two agronomists having a chat about their work and why they do what they do,” says 27 year-old George Baxter, who features in the video.

“We hope the information both Sean and I share about growing and protecting crops will explain the role of the agronomist and encourage those thinking of subject and career choices to explore this line of work.”