14 January 2000

Brown favours mentors

FARM minister Nick Brown has told Young Farmers representatives he favours a "mentoring scheme" as a way of helping new entrants into the industry.

According to Jim Powell, chairman of the agriculture and rural affairs steering group, Mr Brown has indicated he believes the scheme will help young people get into farming in the absence of a new entrant scheme.

He is believed to want a scheme like the Institute of Grocery Distributions Small Food Producers Support Initiative. As part of that initiative, established companies give up their time and expertise free of charge to non-competitor small businesses.

The move would tie in with the ministers desire to get farmers closer to the market place and to see the food chain working closer together.

Although the Young Farmers had been campaigning for implementing a new entrant and early retirement scheme, the minister rejected both when he outlined his spending plans for money raised through modulation.

The UK is currently the only member state in Europe not to have a scheme to help new entrants.

After an hour long meeting with Young Farmers officials Mr Brown was presented with the petition "Putting the Young back into Farming".

The petition which has been signed by over 8500 people has received the backing of all the major farming organisations. &#42