Young farmers at the Fertile Minds seminarThere will be more practial workshops at this year's Fertile Minds event than ever before © RBI

Farmers Weekly, in association with NFU Mutual are running the one-day conference Fertile Minds for business-driven young UK farmers.

Once again, 100-plus ambitious young people will meet their peers, share stories, question experts and attend workshops with the aim of furthering their career in UK agriculture.

The conference is for anyone aged 18-30 who have a love of farming and an interest in business.

There will be keynote speakers, a Q&A with an expert panel, and lots of opportunity to network with your peers.

One of the highlights of Fertile Minds is the practical workshops, and this year there are more than ever to choose from.

Delegates at Fertile Minds 2016 will have the opportunity to attend two afternoon workshops (listed below).

These workshops will be led by experts and aim to provide attendees with pragmatic advice tailored to their farming situation and business aspirations.

2016’s workshops

  • Starting out: A workshop for those who love farming but are not quite sure which path they want to take. We will explore the options and some of the best organisations/contacts for young farmers starting out in the sector
  • Business planning: A great idea is only the start of building a successful farming business. What follows is a lot of hard work and, just as importantly, a lot of planning. A comprehensive business plan is the backbone of a good businesses, in this session we will show you how to build and stick to one.
  • Building your personal brand: This workshop will help you define your own personal brand and look at ways of building that brand using social media. You will learn the basics of writing a blog, how to use social media to establish your personal brand presence and how to engage with people and businesses who share your brand values.
  • International farming: Agriculture is an international business, and there is a huge amount to learn from farming nations around the world. This session will look at the opportunities for young people to travel the world to learn from international farming methods and bring their knowledge and experience back.
  • Farm diversification: Modern farmers are increasingly turning to diversifications as a source of much-needed farm income. This workshop will outline the key steps to building a sustainable, profitable diversification from the outset, maintaining it through tough times and ensuring a consistent profit.
  • Making passion pay: In this workshop we will discuss the proven strategies required to take your passion and turn it into a viable business. We will discuss validating your business idea, visualising the future, creating a structure that allows for growth, and ensuring you can lead that company into the future.

Tim Price, NFU Mutual’s rural affair specialist said: “As the main insurer of the UK’s farmers we’re thrilled to be backing this year’s Fertile Minds event.

“From climate change, low prices, intense regulation, fickle consumers and uncertain support post Brexit, farmers face an array of future challenges – and will need to be more innovative, dynamic and flexible to survive and prosper.

“Fertile Minds provides a brilliant forum for the next generation of famers to get together and collectively turn great ideas into workable propositions.”

Fertile Minds Roadshows

Following the Fertile Minds conference Farmers Weekly, in association with NFU Mutual, will be hosting five regional roundtables for business-minded young farmers – Fertile Minds Roadshows.

Five groups of 10–15 young farmers will be invited to attend; each group attending one event. To give everyone the chance to attend, these roadshows will take place around the UK. Please see a list of locations for the roadshows below.

We want the topics for these roadshows to be decided by you, Farmers Weekly will host a forum at the end of the day where you can discuss these topics with your peers.

We will then provide a venue for the roadshow in your region and topic-specific industry experts to be present and facilitate the discussion.

Timings and locations

Roadshow #1
Date: November 10, 2016
Location: The Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Topic: TBC

Roadshow #2
Date: November 28, 2016
Location: Bristol
Topic: TBC

Roadshow #3
Date: December 12, 2016
Location: Cambridge
Topic: TBC

Roadshow #4
Date: January 9, 2016
Location: Edinburgh
Topic: TBC

Roadshow #5
Date: January 30, 2016
Location: York
Topic: TBC

This year’s event is taking place at the Rheged Centre in Penrith, Cumbria on the 14 October. Owned by the Dunning family, who are hill farmers near Tebay, the venue is the largest underground grass-covered visitor centre in Britain.

Fertile Minds is free to attend but spaces are limited.

To apply, fill out the online Fertile Minds 2016 form.

Successful applicants will be contacted before 3 October.