SUCCESS STORY: Academy trains the farming leaders of the future

Tuesday 2 April

Myerscough College’s Young Farmers Leadership Academy is designed to grow the leadership and business skills of young farmers, through a series of six two-day training sessions spread over six months.

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Supported by a grant from The Prince's Countryside Fund, training is delivered by experts and specialists, and includes visits to farms to provide real life scenarios. The course helps to improve the prospects of farm businesses by developing a more strategic approach to farm business development.

Sessions are run at Myerscough's FFIT (Food and Farming Innovation & Technology) Centre, on the site of Myerscough’s Lodge Farm, a major flagship build for agriculture and associated courses at Myerscough. The main FFIT Centre comprises of a red brick, two-storey building to house the research and teaching facilities that link with the various technologies in the nearby Livestock Innovation Centre and farm. The FFIT Centre also boasts facilities to support food research and development with the aim of creating a resource that both local businesses and students can use to investigate opportunities to process and add value to on-farm produce.

One of the Academy’s success stories is Ruari Martin. He comes from a non-farming background, but has been pursuing an agricultural career, having completed a BSc in Agriculture at Myerscough, and then securing work as an Assistant Farm Manger on two sheep and beef farms.

26-year-old Ruari’s practical skills were extremely good, however his leadership experience was limited, leading Ruari to feel that he needed to gain more experience in business skills before applying for a more senior Farm Management role in future.

Ruari joined the programme whilst working for a large livestock feed company, who supported his attendance on the course to complete the first YFLA programme successfully.  Half-way through the course he secured his dream job as a livestock farm manager on a large estate in Nottinghamshire with rare breed cattle, rare breed pigs and sheep.

On completing the course, Ruari said: ‘’The course allowed me to plan a focused career path, improve my management skills, and helped me identify what good leadership is required. This spurred me on to develop myself further and I’m currently studying for an MBA in International Business Management online. I also successfully obtained a place on the Tesco Future Farmers foundation to improve my skills further.’’

Ruari added: ‘’The course gave me the confidence to apply for the Farm Manager job and it had increased my passion for farming. My goal is to one day own or rent a small farm where I can produce food and run a small restaurant, serving my own produce, as I started my career as a chef before turning to agriculture.’’

Find out more about the Young Farmers Leadership Academy HERE

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by Dave Salmon 

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