Tesco and Harper Adams University launch Future Farmer Programme to help farmers adopt sustainable agriculture practices
Retail giant Tesco has partnered with Harper Adams University’s School of Sustainable Food and Farming to launch the Future Farmer Programme and help young UK farmers develop sustainable agriculture skills.
The new nine month-long programme will offer in-person and live online training to a cohort of 75 ‘up-and-coming’ farmers under the age of 40 to help them learn how to embrace sustainable agriculture practices and protect biodiversity.
Running annually for the next three years, the course will also deliver events and mentoring sessions on optimising business operations and personal development.
Young farmers from any agricultural sector and at different stages of their development are encouraged to apply ahead of the start date in October.
The launch of the programme was announced by Tesco and Harper Adams University at the Royal Welsh Show, a major agricultural event running from 24 – 27 July 2023.
The course is broken up into three themes: Sustainable Futures, where farmers will identify the sustainability strengths and weaknesses in their business, Agile Minds which looks to boost participants’ personal development, and Agile Business, which aims to assist farmers in developing a roadmap to achieve a successful and sustainable farming business in the future.
Harper Adams University opened its School of Sustainable Food and Farming in 2021, which exclusively teaches sustainable farming methods to present and future farmers.
As part of the collaboration, Tesco is also investing in research projects that address sustainability challenges affecting agriculture. One of these will bring together different players from the supermarket’s agricultural supply base to assess how land can be managed in a more environmentally and economically sustainable manner to benefit those practising crop rotation (growing a series of different crops sequentially on the same plot of land).
Ashwin Prasad, Chief Product Officer at Tesco, commented on the news: “I’m delighted to be launching this new programme with Harper Adams University, which will see some of the brightest young talents in the industry benefit from training and support in implementing sustainable agriculture techniques, helping to safeguard the industry, and our natural environment, for future generations.”
Simon Thelwell, Director of the School of Sustainable Food and Farming at Harper Adams University, added: “We are entering a hugely exciting but challenging next chapter for UK Agriculture. The transition to more sustainable food production systems is a significant change for many farmers, and so understanding these issues, identifying the opportunities they present, and being prepared to make change is the key focus of the course.”