The National Trust has launched a new project designed to enhance the skills and training development of its 2000 farming tenants, who will then share their experiences with other producers.

The project, funded by £300,000 in sponsorship from Barclays Bank, is intended to help farmers adapt to the farming world post de-coupling. 

The scheme will also aim to help new entrants.

The two-year project will help farmers develop and share skills, knowledge and experience to meet the challenges of a new era in farming. 

The lessons learned will be shared with the government, farming industry and partner organisations.

Launched on Thursday (27 Oct) the Trust’s director of conservation Peter Dixon explained that the current pace of change in the industry meant many were ill equipped to respond to consumer needs.

“It’s about finding a way by where people in the countryside can sustain a viable economic living,” said Mr Dixon.

The project will consist of four key points. 

i) Expanding the Trust’s network of farm and countryside advisors and land use advisory teams.
ii) Establishing training and demonstration funds
iii) Guidance for new entrants
iv) Using the Trust’s farm advisory network to test key competences, skills and standards for adviser accreditation

Speaking at the launch, government adviser Donald Curry welcomed the initiative as a way of helping farmers adapt to an increasingly competitive market. 

He also welcomed the plans to encourage new entrants.