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Farming Connect reveals 2023 Agri Academy intake

TWENTY-FOUR of the most promising individuals in rural Wales have secured much sought after places on Farming Connect’s 2023 Agri Academy programme after a highly competitive selection process.

The candidates selected for the Business & Innovation and Junior programmes will meet for the first time on Monday 24 July at a reception at the Royal Welsh Show.

Interest in the Agri Academy has grown year on year since it was first launched in 2012, with this year’s intake drawn from a competitive field of applicants.

The 12 people selected to participate in the Business & Innovation programme will embark on a study visit to Ontario, Canada, in October, while the Junior programme members will be heading to the Netherlands in August.

They also have much more to look forward to as the pioneering and innovative personal development programmes get underway.

At the Business & Innovation Programme, aimed at supporting and inspiring the next generation of farming entrepreneurs and trailblazers in Wales, members will be challenged to prepare a management plan for a working family farm.

Residential study visits will be to Leicestershire, where the supply chain will come under the spotlight, and to Brecon where experts will give advice on business building.

There is also an inspiring activity-packed programme for members of the Junior programme, which supports young people aged between 16 and 19 years who hope to carve out a career or set up a business in the food or farming industries.

It includes opportunities to gain experience of chairing meetings, voicing opinions and getting a point across effectively.

Work experience alongside some of the key players in the food and farming industry will also be offered.

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Among the participants is Claire Jones who, along with her husband, Stephen, has converted the family beef farm at Llanddewi-Brefi, Ceredigion, to dairying.

The Business & Innovation programme, she says, will help challenge her mindset and allow her to learn new skills to successfully develop the business.

“I’m looking forward to joining fellow applicants on the Agri Academy programme to make new connections near and far and sharing my experience with others,’’ says Claire.

On the Junior programme, agricultural student Daisy Williams sees the Agri Academy as an opportunity to add another important layer to her education.

She helps to manage a flock of Cheviot, Blue Face Leicester and pedigree Texel ewes at Lower Gwernerin Farm, her family’s 138-hectare farm at Llandinam, Powys.

“As the farming industry is rapidly changing, I feel now is the right time for me to gain as much knowledge as possible and do what I can to help agriculture become more sustainable,’’ says Daisy.