A group of 17 young farmers gathered at Meadow Foods’ head office in Chester this week as part of the new Young Farmers Programme. The new initiative is designed to give young people involved in dairy agriculture the key business skills and industry knowledge that they will require. The programme launched on 4th October 2018 and will see the business invest in the participants for the next two years.
The group arrived at Meadow Foods’ Chester site where they were introduced to members of the executive team and given a tour of the factory that processes their milk into products such as butter, anhydrous milk fat and ghee. The Young Farmers discussed milk prices and their influencing factors with dairy expert Stephen Bradley and finished by discussing the objectives of the programme and what they each wanted to achieve from it.
The programme will be split into two parts: first, on-the-job training; and secondly, the opportunity to be sponsored for an on-farm or dairy industry-related project.
The first element is an on-the-job training programme that aims to give the next generation of dairy farmers a unique range of financial support and advice. Lasting two years, the programme will include three days of hands-on training each year, covering subjects such as sustainability, accounting, milk price forecasting, cost management and purchasing and will be delivered via a number of industry experts. There will also be the opportunity to visit Meadow Foods’ sites, customer sites and to have talks from the Meadow Foods management team.
The second part of the programme will see Meadow Foods sponsor each participant who wants to attend an on-the-job agricultural or business course of their choosing. This is entirely voluntary – but the company will be very supportive of those who want to apply.
Mark Chantler, Chief Executive of Meadow Foods, says: “With this exciting new programme we aim to support the next generation of farmers and provide them with the hands-on training and funding needed to gain a wider understanding of the industry and to further their careers in farming. Taking the time to invest in and support young farmers is critically important for the future of the dairy industry and food production as a whole in the UK.”
The young farmers participating in this year’s programme will also be encouraged to help shape future courses to ensure that they remain relevant to the needs and education of the next generation of farmers.
Meadow Foods is the UK’s largest independently owned dairy group and leading supplier of quality dairy ingredients to the food industry. The award-winning company operates from BRC A and AA accredited sites in Chester, Peterborough and Holme-on-Spalding Moor where they manufacture value-added dairy ingredients 7 days a week for some of the UK’s best-known food manufacturers. Meadow Foods currently employs more than 300 people and handles in excess of 650 million litres of milk each year direct from over 650 farmer suppliers from across the UK.