Search Open for 2019's Emerging Leaders

EL On Farm Day

We are seeking out the leading lights in agri-business to join the OFC 2019 Emerging Leader Programme. As part of our commitment to nurture and promote leadership in agriculture, the Emerging Leader Programme, sponsored by BASF, seeks out potential leaders, aged 30-45, in agri-business in the UK, who have not attended the conference or may not have the means to attend. Successful applicants will be awarded a sponsored place at the two-day Oxford Farming Conference in January (3-4 January 2019), including valuable networking dinners and fringe events.

The 2019 programme was launched this week at an on-farm event for past Emerging Leaders hosted by OFC Director and EL Programme organiser, Andrew Pitts. Mr Pitts, who farms 2100 acres with his brother and has a seed production business, said

“The Emerging Leaders’ initiative is designed to develop the skills of potential leaders in the industry, and this is an excellent opportunity for those who may not necessarily be on the radar to gain in confidence and experience and take strides to play a part in the bigger picture. The conference is a vibrant event which exposes you to the latest thinking across agriculture and its associated industries, as well as offering exceptional networking opportunities with key and progressive people in the business. Last year one Emerging Leader came face to face with Michael Gove at the Chairman’s drinks. You never know who you will meet or who you may influence. With change afoot, we need strong leadership more than ever, and as an organisation we are keen to support that at every level.”

The OFC works with other organisations already actively developing leadership within agriculture and the rural communities to identify candidates, including the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme, which is sponsoring a number of places on the Emerging Leaders Programme for the 2019 conference. Julian Pace, Head of Rural at Scottish Enterprise, who also runs the successful Rural Leadership Programme in Scotland, said:

“Those we sponsored to join the Emerging Leaders Programme last year gained enormously from the experience, both in terms of the invaluable networking it offered and the exposure to new ideas and insights into the industry at the conference itself. They came back informed, challenged and inspired. These types of programmes are an essential tool in developing our future leaders, and we are delighted to be able to support the Programme again this year.”

The OFC is seeking further sponsors for the participants from businesses and organisations to fund one or more candidates to attend the conference and the related dinners. Chairman Tom Allen-Stevens, arable farmer and magazine editor, said:

“Like never before, UK Farming stands at a crossroads and will look to the next generation of leaders in agriculture to lead on the path that will bring progression and prosperity to our rural communities. This is a fantastic opportunity for those farmers who are already making a difference within their own business and who have the will and the drive to succeed in our industry. In just two years we have created an active network of Emerging Leaders to complement our Scholars’ Programme for younger people, and through all of this the OFC is creating a stronger, more coherent and defined voice for this next generation. It is also a great opportunity for businesses to nurture both the people and the skills which will aid the industry as a whole, so now is the time to encourage worthy candidates to step forward.”

Applications for the Emerging Leader Programme are now open and must be submitted by 31st August 2018. If you are being sponsored by an organisation if your application is successful, please indicate this in your application form.

Interested sponsors should contact the Chairman direct for more information and guidance on opportunities (