Tesco and Harper Adams University to support future farmers

Posted: 25 July 2023 | | No comments yet

Hoping to allow future farmers to benefit from sustainability advice, Tesco and Harper Adams University have launched a new multi-year programme.


Supermarket giant Tesco has joined forces with Harper Adams University to create The Future Farmer Programme, an initiative they believe will help support farmers reach net zero and biodiversity targets.

Together with Harper Adams University’s School of Sustainable Food and Farming (SSFF), Tesco will be launching what it defines as a “major new multi-year programme”, something it claims will “help up-and-coming British farmers develop their skills in sustainable agriculture”.

According to a survey carried out by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, there are currently skills gaps in areas such as sustainability and the environment when it comes to young farmers. Hoping to make a difference, the 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 course will last for nine months and is set to run each year for the next three years. Tesco and Harper Adams University have said that it will also involve 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 prior to its start date in October 2023.

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“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,” said Ashwin Prasad, Tesco’s Chief Product Officer at the Royal Welsh Show.

“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,” continued Prasad.

Delving deeper into the partnership, Tesco has committed to funding 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 as a way to understand how land can be managed in a way that is environmentally and economically sustainable for all parties involved in an agricultural rotation.

“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,” said Simon Thelwell, Director of the School of Sustainable Food and Farming at Harper Adams University.

“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,” concluded Thelwell.

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