Wales is to nurture a new generation of potential farming leaders and entrepreneurs.

First Minister, Carwyn Jones, was at the Royal Welsh Show to name the people selected to take part in two new initiatives.

The Rural Leadership Programme and the Agri-Academy Business and Innovation Programme have been jointly developed between Farming Connect and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.

The minister described the new projects as exciting. “Those selected will embark on an ambitious programme to support and develop them as future agricultural leaders and entrepreneurs,” he said.

The programme will begin with a three-day visit to Brussels in January when the focus will be on developing leadership skills. The group will learn how the European Parliament works and how they can be effective at lobbying.

It will also give the candidates a world-view of the economy. “They will have the chance to talk to attachés from all over the world to gain a grasp of world trade,” said John Davies, president of the RWAS.

A two-day course in Cardiff, the home of the Welsh Government, will follow when there will be meetings with Welsh Government representatives and an exchange of ideas with inspirational leaders from a wide range of industries.

Pembrokeshire organic milk producer Dai Miles, who was selected for the Rural Leadership Programme, regards it as an opportunity for personal development. “It believe it will enable me to undertake my current roles more effectively by working on my public speaking and presentational skills,” said Mr Miles, a director of Calon Wen and Proper Welsh Milk.

Angela Davies, who runs a 1,000-ewe sheep farm in the Elan Valley with her husband, Tony, said she applied for the Business and Innovation Programme to prepare for changes that lie ahead following reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.

“I am conscious that there are big changes happening in Europe that will affect our farm and I wanted to equip myself with the tools available to enable me to ensure that the business remains viable for the next generation,” she said.

Professor Wynne Jones, chairman of the Farming Connect Strategic Advisory Board, said that the calibre of applications had been exceptional.

“We think we’ve found some of the most promising people working in Welsh agriculture today. I expect to see a lot more of these candidates in the future.”

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