The National Farmers Union (NFU) next generation forum is calling for an ambitious New Entrant Support scheme to empower a new generation of talented farming entrepreneurs and help them deal with and find solutions to the large commercial, structural and practical hurdles.

In a meeting with Farming Minister Victoria Prentis, members of the forum highlighted the wealth of talent wanting to join the industry and their importance to the future of farming.

NFU next generation forum chair David Ractliffe said:

“The meeting with the Farming Minister was a positive first step in the creation of a successful New Entrant scheme that we would like to be ambitious and have a legacy.

"I stressed to the minister the number of aspiring farming entrepreneurs already in the wings of existing farming businesses, in our schools, colleges and universities who want to flourish and bring new ideas to the industry.

"It is also vital that the new scheme focuses on equipping individuals through business skills training, in addition to farm training.

“While there are many challenges facing those looking to enter the sector or remain in it, from access to capital, finance from banks, and land to farm on, there are many opportunities to grow skills and gain mentoring from a professional network of current farmers and growers.

“It is vital that there are routes into farming for anyone who is keen to pursue a career in producing the nation’s food, whether they are from a farming background or not.

" I would encourage people from all backgrounds to enter this exciting sector; one which helps keep the nation fed with climate friendly food, rears livestock to world leading standards, and ensures our iconic countryside is cared for.”