Three young British students from the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) Scholars Programme have been selected to travel to Hanover in Germany in November to take part in Germany’s prestigious annual Young Farmers conference and to attend Agritechnica, the world’s leading machinery trade fair. Robert Proud, Alice Clews and Jordan Clark, who all attended the Oxford Farming Conference as Scholars in January, will be fully funded by Massey Ferguson as part of a collaboration in its fourth year between the two leading agricultural institutions, the OFC and Germany’s Young DLG, the youth network of the German Agricultural Society.
The visit to Agritechnica, which is held in Hanover between 12-18 November 2017, aims to give young people involved in British and German agriculture a networking and learning opportunity, through the youth conference, farm visits and at the exhibition itself which has over 2900 exhibitors and innovators.
Chairman of the Oxford Farming Conference, Caroline Millar, said:
“At the core of the Oxford Farming Conference is networking and learning from others, and this is a wonderful opportunity for the next generation of agriculturalists to do exactly this, meeting people they may not otherwise meet, seeing a different perspective and taking home new ideas that they can share and integrate in to their own businesses and networks. Opportunities like these at a young age can have a massive impact on future careers and personal confidence, as well as encouraging life-long connections.
We have chosen the three scholars not only because they will represent young UK farmers well in Germany, but they will also undoubtedly play a significant part in the future of UK agriculture.”
One of the three scholars will be selected to speak at the Young DLG Conference. The scholars will be joined by Council member Matthew Naylor and past OFC scholar and DLG scholar Robert Yardley. Mr Naylor is an enthusiastic supporter of the development of the next generation in agriculture, and says:
“The implementation of technology and mechanisation drives modern agriculture. The next generation of farmers needs to understand both the possibilities that lie ahead and the impact that they will have on society. This is why the OFC and DLG are delighted to provide three promising new entrants to the industry an opportunity to visit the world's premier event for agricultural mechanisation. The international aspect of this exchange also brings an important and interesting dimension and no doubt Brexit, and the effects it will have on the agricultural sector in both the UK and the remaining EU member states, will result in some lively discussions at the youth conference this year.”
The first of the three scholars, Robert Proud, from Hexham, Northumberland, grew up on his family’s dairy, beef and poultry farm, and has worked as an assistant herdsman on one of the largest dairy farms in the North-east of England. He is currently studying for a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture at the University of Nottingham, where he has been President of the Agricultural Society. He plans to work abroad after finishing his studies, in order to gain a greater insight into the dairy industry outside of the UK and bring back ideas. He is looking forward to Agritechnica, and the challenge of being outside his comfort zone and meeting new people.
Alice Clews, from Wetherby, West Yorkshire, has been heavily involved in Young Farmers over the years, and is currently on an industrial placement year at Syngenta UK from Harper Adams University. Interested in digital and precision farming tools to help improve farming practices, she plans to join a trainee agronomy programme. Always proactive in seeking opportunities to progress and gain experience in the industry, she applied for the exchange for its networking opportunities with industry specialists in Hanover.
Jordan Clark from Brigg, Lincolnshire, looks forward to working abroad after he finishes his studies at the Royal Agricultural University at Cirencester. For him, Agritechnica provides an excellent opportunity to meet his short-term aspirations of travelling and understanding various agricultural industries worldwide. In the longer term, he would like to find out more about different methods of farming and marketing around the globe – especially in China and New Zealand – before applying for graduate trainee schemes at a large retailer or agribusiness in the UK.
Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Director Marketing Services Europe and Middle East said:
“Collaboration in the OFC Scholars Programme is an important part of Massey Ferguson’s support for the upcoming generation of farmers and the future development of agriculture. Cross fertilisation of ideas and exposure to new experiences is always inspirational, encouraging young farmers to be proactive and innovative in their outlook and thinking. This is just what we need to secure the future of farming and food production. We look forward to welcoming the Scholars to our stand at Agritechnica.”
Agritechnica 2017 takes place at Hanover’s exhibition grounds from the 12 to 18 November (with special preview days on 12 and 13 November). More than 2,900 exhibitors from all over the world have registered to take part.