Fresh Start initiative offers unique chance for young farmers

Young people in the north-east who are keen to get started in farming have been urged to register with the Fresh Start initiative, which offers training and the chance to team up with a retiring farmer.

Following a trial project in Cornwall, plans are under way to establish 12 Fresh Start academies around the country by next summer.

Students will pay a one-off fee of £25, and attend 12 half-day sessions a month, designed to meet their individual training needs.

They will also be assigned a business mentor, and have access to a register of retiring farmers interested in share-farming and other joint venture projects.

“Fresh Start is already in talks with Bishop Burton College, near Driffield, in the hope of setting up a new academy in Yorkshire.

However, we would like to establish a second centre further north,” Fresh Start project manager Steve Lindsay told a recent Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors meeting in Hexham, Northumberland.

He stressed that the initiative was focusing on core farming businesses, or diversification ventures with agricultural roots.

“Producers approaching retirement often have the land and the buildings, but not the enthusiasm. Working in a partnership with a younger person can provide a good solution for both parties.”

Land agent Hugo Remmnant of Land Factor said Fresh Start was a good idea.

“Times are changing, and new market opportunities are available. Young people have the kind of imaginative thinking processes that can lead to success, but older producers must be prepared to be flexible if they decide to work in a partnership.”

The Fresh Start project is part of DEFRA’s Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy. For more details e-mail steve.lindsay or contact Steve Lindsay on 01727 812 016.


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