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Future farmers set to benefit from sustainability advice in new Tesco and Harper Adams University initiative

The Future Farmer Programme will help support farmers reach net zero and biodiversity targets


Tesco and Harper Adams University’s School of Sustainable Food and Farming (SSFF) have today announced the launch of a major new multi-year programme which will help up-and-coming British farmers develop their skills in sustainable agriculture.

With recent surveys* suggesting younger farmers have identified skills gaps in areas including sustainability and the environment, the Future Farmer Programme will provide 75 young farmers with face-to-face and live online training on how to implement sustainable agriculture practices and protect biodiversity.

The nine-month course, which will run each year for the next three years, will also include events and mentoring sessions on business operations and personal development.

Farmers under the age of 40 from across different agricultural sectors and at different stages of their development will be encouraged to apply for the programme ahead of its start date in October.

As part of the Partnership with SSFF, Tesco will also fund research projects aimed at addressing some of the key sustainability challenges affecting agriculture. The first research project will look to bring together different sectors of Tesco’s agricultural supply base to understand how land can be managed in a way that is environmentally and economically sustainable for all parties involved in an agricultural rotation.

Speaking at the launch of the programme at the Royal Welsh Show, Ashwin Prasad, Tesco’s Chief Product Officer said:

 “British agriculture plays a crucial role in protecting and enhancing our natural environment and will be right at the heart of the UK’s efforts to achieve its net zero ambitions. It’s also had to overcome some incredibly tough challenges over the past two years, which is why we’re committed to supporting it, both now and in the future.“

“With this in mind, 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 said:

“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.”

“The course is split into three focus areas, Understanding Sustainability - which will explore the key drivers and opportunities for the industry; Agile Mindsets - which will help participants identify their own strengths, capabilities and weaknesses; and Agile Business, will help them structure and adapt their business, existing or new, and to identify new opportunities and methods for a sustainable future.”

Tesco has provided much-needed support across several farming sectors over the course of the last 18 months to help overcome inflationary challenges, which have affected the prices of inputs such as feed, fertiliser, energy and labour. Tesco’s help has included financial support packages for the pig and egg sectors as well as its continued commitment to its Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group, now in its 16th year, and its established feed model for poultry farmers.



*National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs: NFYFC-Route to success survey results

Future Farmer Programme:

·The nine-month course will include face-to-face and live online tutorials.

·Farmers under the age of 40, and in any agricultural sector can apply.

·Online applications are now live on the School of Sustainable Food and Farming website.

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