Applications are now open for the latest traunch of Northern Ireland's Next Generation Development Forum.

Run by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), with the support of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU), Next Generation was initially created in 2017 for farmers under the age of 40, to encourage them to become more involved with the union’s activities.

UFU president Ivor Ferguson said: “Our current committees are effective, but often they lack input from those who will be the farmers of the future.

This forum is to play a key role in shaping the UFU for a new generation of farmers. The first group of Next Generation members have just come to the end of their tenure and it has been a highly worthwhile forum for both the UFU, and the individuals involved.

The forum will have a maximum of 25 representatives and both members and non-members can apply.

They will meet approximately five times in the year to discuss topics of their choice and to debate the future of the agricultural industry.

“The agenda and format will be decided by the group as it progresses, with the option to build in leadership development, educational visits, business skills and anything else forum members feel is important to the future of the industry,” said Ferguson.

YFCU president Zita McNaugher added: “I am delighted that the Next Generation Development Forum has now carried over into a second term.

Both the YFCU and UFU want to encourage farmers under the age of 40 to become more involved in shaping policy.

"We see this forum as an opportunity for young people to learn more about how the industry works and the importance of effective representation and negotiation.”

How to apply

To apply to be a part of the Next Generation Development Forum, download an application form here.

The closing date for submissions is Friday, February 21, 2020, at 4:00pm.