Delivering a sustainable and profitable future

NEW INITIATIVES LAUNCH: From left, Tenant Farmers Association national chairman Stephen Wyrill, FUW land use policy officer Bernard Griffiths, NFU Cymru president Stephen James, Wales YFC rural affairs chair Carys Vaughan, Malcolm Thomas, Rebecca Evans, Farming Connect Strategic Advisory Board chairman Prof Wynne Jones, Lantra Wales chairman Peter Rees and CLA Wales chairman David Wynne Finch.

NEW INITIATIVES LAUNCH: From left, Tenant Farmers Association national chairman Stephen Wyrill, FUW land use policy officer Bernard Griffiths, NFU Cymru president Stephen James, Wales YFC rural affairs chair Carys Vaughan, Malcolm Thomas, Rebecca Evans, Farming Connect Strategic Advisory Board chairman Prof Wynne Jones, Lantra Wales chairman Peter Rees and CLA Wales chairman David Wynne Finch.

DEPUTY farming and food minister Rebecca Evans announced two initiatives, available through the new Farming Connect programme, that will help deliver the Welsh Government’s vision for a sustainable and profitable agriculture industry in Wales. Addressing stakeholders, farmers and foresters in the Lantra building during the Winter Fair, she launched “Invest in Skills and Mentoring” – Farming Connect’s new lifelong learning and development programme. This follows her launch of the “Develop your Business” programme at the recent Welsh Dairy Show in Carmarthen, representing the second phase of delivering services within the new Farming Connect programme. The new skills package will focus strongly on continual personal development and elearning in addition to offering subsidised training courses across a wide range of topics and practical skills, which will be delivered by Lantra Wales. She said: “It is important that everyone working in the industry recognises that personal and business development now available through the new Farming Connect programme represents a significant investment in their business, and could be a key component of safeguarding its future growth and prosperity. “Being open to new ideas and innovation, and capitalising on new opportunities, are essential if farm businesses are to become more profitable and sustainable. The new Farming Connect will, if used to best effect, support the industry every step of the way.” The deputy minister also unveiled plans for a pioneering initiative called “Venture” (“Mentro” in Welsh) which will also be available through Farming Connect. She said: “This new service is based on one of the key recommendations in Malcolm Thomas’ ‘Next Generation into Farming’ report which I commissioned last year, and which identified the need to set up a new Joint Opportunities Platform to support new business opportunities. “Delivered by Menter a Busnes on behalf of Farming Connect, this bespoke new service will identify and match established landowners seeking to enter into a contract or share farming arrangement with those new entrants seeking a route into the industry. “It will match parties wishing to enter into a joint venture arrangement and will consider compatibility on a range of important factors. “Tailored support will be provided to both parties through a range of knowledge transfer activities. “This addresses the issue of matching those who wish to reduce their involvement in the day to day regime of farming, and those at the other end of the scale, who are taking their first steps within the industry. “I am grateful to Malcolm for all his work and am delighted that what was arguably his most important recommendation will now form a cornerstone of the new Farming Connect offer.”

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