UK Next Gen groups get together to map out future

The ‘Next Generation’ of farmers from across the UK have been gathering to jointly identify the barriers and opportunities to getting a start in the industry according to Policy Assistant Lisa Hislop.

Lisa writes: “A delegation from NFU Scotland’s Next Gen group was at NFU HQ in Stoneleigh last week, coming together with the fellow Next Generation groups from NFU, NFU Cymru and Ulster Farming Union.

“Day one of the conference set the scene covering the background of each Next Generation group followed by an overview of the direction of future support in each nation, broadening everyone’s perspectives beyond their own nation and networks. 

“We group also received an update on the work of Kate Adams and colleagues at the British Agriculture Bureau (BAB), where the work they do representing the UK Unions in the European Union is crucial. These sessions highlighted how the divergence in future support was a concern for delegates from all nations, but there was a positive emphasis that there is a huge opportunity to learn from one another. 

“The final part of the day covered a panel session on access to land and finance which was complemented by a presentation from the Oxbury Bank’s New Entrant product. 

“From NFU Scotland Next Generation’s perspective, it was great to be able to put across the options we have in Scotland working with Scottish Land Matching Service to mitigate some of the barriers faced by new entrants. Despite the divergence in policy across the nations, there is some comfort to be found in mutual barriers and issues ahead of the next generation of farming.

“The day ended on a positive tone, when representatives from each union spoke of their own story and how they have overcome barriers, whether this has been through developing land sharing partnerships or channeling energy into building highly efficient business models to streamline their resources. There was a sense of determination which they should be proud of. 

“The following morning the group heard from AHDB Consumer insights team highlighting how the public see farmers as reliable and trustworthy, offering a positive outlook on our domestic markets, before the final discussion on moving to net zero. 

“Interestingly the phrase “net zero” was hardly mentioned, instead focusing on “efficient resource use” and business resilience which identified delivering net zero as a pleasant by-product from efficient business models. 

“The closing remarks from NFU Chair, Eveey Hunter, encouraged everyone to tell the stories of the efficient, driven businesses that Next Generation farmers are pioneering which deliver the common goal of delivering high quality British food for consumption. 

“The two-day event offered an opportunity to build dialogue with fellow Next Gen groups at the other Unions and further develop the voice of the next generation to strengthen our position in the future of agricultural policy development. There is a lot for the delegates from NFU Scotland to consider and take forward as part of our work in Scotland.”  

  • A special thank you to our affinity partner Gillespie Macandrew LLP for sponsoring the Next Generation Chairman, Matthew Steel, to attend the conference.

Author: Lisa Hislop

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About The Author

Lisa Hislop

Lisa Hislop graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2020 in International Business Management with French, part of her studies included completing an explanatory research project to explore Consumer Perceptions of Scotch Beef. Following this Lisa worked with a youth employability organisation working to develop employer networks to create work opportunities and to provide training support for local businesses. She joined NFU Scotland in 2022 as a Policy Assistant where she is responsible for assisting the NFU Scotland Policy Team in formulating NFU Scotland policy on a range of key objectives and for supporting the Policy team with Commodity Committee and working group operations and developing NFU Scotland policy and its promotion.

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