Eleven ambitious young farmers have been named as the NFU’s new Student & Young Farmer ambassadors for 2023/24, having beaten off stiff competition from more than 50 applicants vying for the posts.
As ambassadors, they will attend various events at parliament, learn more about the industry from peers, and undertake training days, helping them develop to become “the voice of the next generation”.
Their appointments come at a crucial time for agriculture.
NFU president Minette Batters said: “Farming is undergoing huge change, from the complete transition in farming support payments and inflationary costs of production, to the impacts of climate change and more regular adverse weather events.
“It has arguably never been a more important time to be able to tell the positive story of British agriculture and showcase the massive support we are so fortunate to have from the public.”
And with a general election expected in the next 12 months, the young ambassadors will play a vital role in keeping food and farming front of mind amid a busy political and media agenda.
The NFU’s Student & Young Farmer Ambassadors for 2024 are:
- Naomi Williams-Robert – a livestock farmer born and bred in the Welsh valleys. She established her farm in 2018 with her partner and specialises in marketing and improving breeds.
- Ben Chilman – a full-time poultry farmer based on his family’s mixed farm on the England/Wales border.
- Jon Watt – who grew up on his family’s livestock farm in the Eastern region, but dipped out to pursue a career as a racing driver. He has now returned to help grow the farm business.
- Magnus Brown – who grew up on his family’s Midlands dairy farm and is now studying at Birmingham University to become an agricultural lawyer.
- James Scott – a new entrant dairy farmer, also from the Midlands, with a passion for showcasing British farming.
- Molly Mead – who lives on her family’s mixed farm in the Eastern region, where she also works as a farm vet technician and bTB tester. She is keen to raise awareness of neurodiversity in the farming community.
- Jessica Stewart – is from a mixed family farm in the North where she sells meat boxes from her Belted Galloways. She is also a solicitor at a rural practice and chairman of her local Young Farmers Club.
- Sian Grove – is a new entrant shepherdess on the Isle of Wight. She first got into farming through her YFC and is looking forward to learning more about the industry.
- Sophia Ashe – who studied agriculture at the Royal Agriculture University and spent time in south America working with cowboys. She is a new entrant livestock farmer, with an interest in farm policy.
- Edward Harrison – who grew up on a dairy farm in the Northern region and now runs his own regenerative livestock farm with his wife, where they specialise in rare and native breeds.
- Hanna Benson – who is the programme’s very first flower farmer, running her own cut flower business as part of a diversification from her family’s vegetable farm in the Midlands.