Meet the Future Farmers

William Holmes 

Dairy Farmer

Dorset

 

Starting to manage a dairy farm at 23 and dealing with succession in the family business straight from University left me feeling overwhelmed and relatively underskilled. Applying for, and taking part in, the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation has given me the knowledge, support and confidence to start to meet the farms goal of achieving excellence across the board.

 

The TFFF has given me a chance to meet progressive, like minded young farmers. I have been questioned and challenged on what I am doing currently and given help to improve. Knowing others are facing the same challenges as me and that I am not alone has massively helped my mental state in a challenging 2018 for agriculture.

 

 

Kim Barnett

Beef and Sheep Farmer

Wales

 

TFFF has given me the courage to diversify into game bird rearing for a local estate, to generate another income source for the business.

 

The TFFF has given me privileged opportunities to see how other areas of the industry work, and utilise the information gained. Also I am enjoying building up a network of fellow agricultural enthusiasts.

 

Gwesyn Davies

Sheep and Beef Farmer

Wales

 

As the fourth generation sheep and beef farmer on the family home farm, growing the farm business to a more sustainable position for the future is my priority. The business is 250 acre, compromising of 700 sheep and 50 grazing cattle. 

 

The Tesco Future Farmer Foundation challenges you to take a different approach to planning and organising your business. Considering aspects that you would never usually think of in the day-to-day running of the farm. When you leave the workshops you can see clearly how this can benefit and improve your farming business. It’s very easy to get caught up in the day to day running of a farm, but having met and spoken with many forward thinking and inspiring farmers whilst on the foundation, I now understand the importance of personal development for you, and your business. 

 

My time on the future farmer course has changed my prospective on my farming business, and several changes have already been put into to action with the benefits already clear to see. 

Rich Whittaker 

Poultry Farmer

Worcestershire 

 

I am married and have 1 daughter, and grew up on the farm that I manage with my dad. I wasn’t always involved in the farm and came back to it in 2010 after doing business at uni and working in London. Because of this, I felt the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation would help me develop as a farmer and also evolve the ideas for the farm that I draw on from my time outside of agriculture. It’s great being with a group of enthusiastic, like minded people on the course and having industry leaders give talks has helped provoke ideas how to take the farm forward. 

Bethan Watkins

Family Farmer/Food Technologist

Somerset

 

I applied to the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation to get a better understanding and awareness for the entire food supply chain, from farm to fork. I wanted to understand the challenges from a processor and retailers point of view and how they transpire to us as food producers; half way through the year and I’ve already learnt so much. The Tesco team are open and willing to share their knowledge and experience which is extremely beneficial.

 

The ability to meet and learn from such a diverse range of people within the industry from all backgrounds and skills sets is one of the best parts of the Foundation. We share ideas, experiences and have a number of lengthy discussions, but more importantly we help each other out and have a laugh! It’s truly fantastic experience and opportunity, and I really don’t want it to end. 

Steve Goodwin

Family Farmer

Herefordshire

 

I applied for TFFF after completing my graduate scheme (MDS) through Harper Adams. I was aware that I was about to finish a very valuable development course and started looking for the next available “training” course for my personal development. TFFF has ticked all the boxes so far. 

 

It has been incredibly refreshing to work with such enthusiastic tutors and fellow future farmers. It makes such a difference to the doom and gloom you can sometimes be exposed to in our industry.  I knew this course was for me after attending the interview day and talking with all the other interviewees. I left there with such motivation for my own work life and really hoped I would be given the opportunity to enrol in the scheme. 

Laura Hodgkins

Sheep Farmer

West Sussex

 

I recently took the decision to give up my full time marketing career to take on a tenanted farm with my husband.  We run a 2,000 head flock of New Zealand Romneys on an extensive outdoor system, predominantly for breeding stock, and we also rear calves on a contract basis. 

 

Being completely new to farming - I felt that the Foundation would be a great way to build up my knowledge within all of the different farming sectors - as well as giving me the opportunity to meet some key industry contacts, that would hopefully prove useful in moving forward with our business. 

 

The programme has not only built my confidence within farming, but it has given me such a great baseline knowledge of how all of the different sectors work within agriculture.  It has also allowed me to meet a great like minded bunch of people - that will no doubt stay in touch with after the programme has finished.

 

Rob Wickham 

Fresh Produce 

Kent

 

It is hard not to feel motivated and inspired coming away from any Tesco Future Farmer workshop or supply chain visit. The insight given on visits to industry leading companies is fantastic and the level of access would be hard to beat.  The guest speakers and access to mentors means workshop learnings are easily related to real life situations. 

 

I have met some brilliant people throughout the course of the foundation and it is great bouncing various ideas off them and vice versa. As a result of being on the foundation I have noticed improvements in my decision making, confidence and communication on the farm. I have no doubt that the things I have taken away from the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation will benefit me for my whole career. This is an amazing opportunity and I’d highly recommend giving it a go to anyone in the industry!

Matthew Oldnall

Poultry Producer

Bromsgrove

 

Agriculturally I am extremely streamlined into intensive poultry production. TFFF has aided me immensely in broadening my horizons, interacting with other farming industries. This has allowed me to fully understand the need for horizontal innovation between industries; especially between the farming industries. TFFF has allowed immense personal development both professionally and personally all whilst making amazing friends whom I believe will be lifelong friends.

James Saunders

Dairy Farmer

Sommerset

 

Having not been to university and starting my career in dairy farm management at the ripe age of 19 it soon became clear to me that I needed to continually up-skill myself. I had just completed the last workshops of a Trainee Farm Manager course when I came across the TFFF. I spoke to a few past Future Farmers and it seemed to tick all the boxes for me in terms of personal development. Even after the interviews, it became clear that the foundation would be a great opportunity to meet and interact with new parts of the supply chain, industry professionals and a group of motivated young farmers.

 

As an industry it's very easy to be surrounded by negativity and static thinking. However, a room full of Future Farmers is quite the opposite with a positive and progressive atmosphere. Regardless of the strains of day-to-day farming a workshop or supply chain visit always reinforces my drive and focuses my mind. The speakers and lecturers at the workshops are always first class and have opened my mind to a lot of personal and business development. I would recommend the foundation to anyone thinking of applying. 

Edward Backhouse

Arable Farmer

East Yorkshire

 

I farm in partnership with my mother and brother. I was emailed a link to the TFFF and thought why not apply, nothing to lose. Luckily, I must have done something right to manage to get onto the course. I really did not know what I wanted out of the course, we have a good business with diversification and no real issue that needed addressing. But I thought there were too many high-quality speakers and presenters not to give it a go.

 

I am so glad that I did apply. Every workshop I have come away and implemented something that I have picked up over the course. Then there are the supply chain visits. Being able to have a nosy around some amazing businesses and given complete honesty from them is something that I would not normally get. And finally there are the people you meet on the course, to hear about what people are doing on their farms (normally over a pint) has involved me in some very interesting conversations.

 

Doug Fleming 

Livestock and Arable

Northumberland

 

After starting my own agri-business alongside the family farm and expanding the livestock and arable enterprises as well as a holiday cottage business I found myself working harder than ever without seeing a huge benefit to be bottom line. I had many ideas and with lack of knowledge of other sectors and supply chains, I found myself lacking confidence to progress with them.

 

The knowledge and advice from the speakers and professionals is second to none, covering a wide range of topics in great detail. The course has helped me focus my mind into creating a positive, resilient business plan for the future with a clearly defined set of goals while also helping with leadership and motivation. 

 

I return home after every workshop/supply chain event with a renewed sense of positivity and enthusiasm for the future.  The other people on the course, as well as being friendly and positive, are also a great source of knowledge and everyone is very happy to share experience and ideas 

Annabelle Scott

Beef and Sheep Farmer

Scottish Borders

 

After several years working as a surveyor I wanted to get back to my farming roots and TFFF seemed like an ideal place to start. The first thing that struck me about TFFF was the positivity of all the participants and it really helped to motivate me to improve our beef and sheep unit at home and consider new ideas. One of the best things about TFFF is the opportunity to network with some of the best in the industry and see behind scenes of some of the biggest businesses, it’s a real eye opener. 

 

Natalie Martins

Mornios Contract Herdcare

Melton Mowbray

 

Having been made aware of the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation & then carried out my own research, I felt it was an opportunity not to be missed so sat down one evening and applied! With no formal agricultural college or university qualifications I felt that the Foundation offered a great deal of information to broaden my knowledge from a life & on the job educated person like myself. 

 

Working in partnership with my husband, running an award winning Relief Contract Herdcare business, I have thoroughly enjoyed the workshops of Negotiating, Leadership, Learning Styles & Personal Profiling. All of these skills I'm able to take back to my day job & develop & improve from. Furthermore, I will walk away with my eyes opened to Finance & Business Planning for longer term use in future business enterprises. 

 

 

Greg Graham

Dairy Farmer

Cumbria

Tesco Future Farmer Foundation has given me huge insight into the supply chains through agriculture, from farm to processor through to retail. Having the chance to visit farms, factories and production facilities from all aspects of agriculture, horticulture and even aquaculture has been genuinely fantastic and a huge learning opportunity I wouldn't have had otherwise.  

 

Returning after any of the workshops or supply chain events, I would feel invigorated, full of new ideas and motivation.

 

So far it has been a fantastic experience, having had the opportunity to see and learn so much, being apart of the foundation has been of huge benefit, I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Ashley Persey

Dairy Farmer, Publican and Event Caterer

Devon

 

The Tesco Future Farmer Foundation is an incredible experience to be part of.

 

The workshop events enable you to develop skills and take a step back to look at how you can improve your business.  I have met a great group of likeminded people in all areas of agriculture and have really enjoyed the supply chain events.  These have enabled me to look behind the scenes of the production of the food that we produce, and the importance of customer relations from farm to plate, promoting animal welfare and standards of food production.

 

I have been extremely privileged to be part of the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation and would highly recommend it to anyone considering applying in the future.

 

Tom Gardner

Beef, Sheep and Arable Farmer

Kent

 

When I started on the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation I was two years back into working, and trying to find my place in the family business having completed my degree. I had been collecting “tickets” for anything and everything to try and build my CV and to be in a position to make the most of any opportunities that arose when I stumbled across the Foundation on Facebook and thought, why not!  The workshops are truly inspiring, whether it’s the amount of positivity in the room, gaining new skills or all these ideas, tips and tricks you’ve never even thought of!

 

Halfway through the programme I was approached to take on the management of a 1000ha farm in Kent. I’d spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect opportunity and it found me! The TFFF gave me the confidence in my abilities, an excellent support network and looked amazing on my CV. The supply chain visits give an excellent insight into what producers and customers want, something farmers often forget. No matter what problem you have there is someone on the course that has been through it or at least can point you in the direction of someone that has.

 

Jason Bryan

Potato Grower

Ireland

 

I applied for the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation as I felt my farm was just existing and not moving forward, as a young farmer I certainly did not want to be standing still.  I have always felt if your not moving forwards your falling behind. 

 

I had been looking at diversifying into laying hens for a couple of years. Being part of the Foundation has let me meet some great people in all areas of agriculture. This has given me the courage and motivation to invest in this new enterprise, and has helped me to look at my farm more like a business rather than a way of life.

 

Amy Turner-Wright

Poultry Producer

Nottingham

 

The Tesco Future Farmer Foundation is an amazing experience!  Through the workshops I have learnt about a wide variety of subjects, from business plans to succession.   We have also been out and about, visiting supply chains such as Arla, Cranswick, Bayer, you get to see it all.

 

There is no way that you would be able to experience all of these places, people and get tours of these supply chains without being part of the Foundation. 

 

The Tesco Future Farmer Foundation is a fantastic group to be part of and I feel very lucky to be one of them and experience everything we have so far. I would absolutely recommend!

 

 

Keith Gue

Dairy Farmer

Bristol

 

By far and away the best thing about joining the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation, is being able to meet an amazing group of great people!

 

Being able to collaborate with and learn from such a diverse and progressive group makes it much more fun to learn and get ideas about how to implement changes at home.  The finance workshop in particular has helped me to get a better understanding of our own business accounts and the most recent workshop on sustainability has also helped open my eyes to potential new ways to grow the business.

 

Andrew McGregor

Dairy Farmer

South Lanarkshire

 

Tesco Future Farmer Foundation is the best opportunity I have had for learning within agriculture by far.  Whether it is from experts or from the other people on the programme there is always something new and interesting to learn and think about. 

 

Anyone wanting to create a bright future within the industry for themselves would benefit from being a part of the programme.

 

Rosie Blackmore 

Poultry and beef

Suffolk

 

I come home from every workshop feeling motivated and optimistic about my career in farming. The topics covered are entirely relevant and the industry experts offer a unique opportunity to discuss real life situations and formulate solutions. 

 

The supply chain events are fantastic and allow us brilliant access not only to farms and factories from all domains of the industry, but also another opportunity to talk directly to industry experts. 

 

Through being on the Future Farmer Foundation I have a network of like-minded, ambitious young farmers that I can turn to for advice on anything from stock and staff management to succession and diversification. 

Calum Smith

Beef Farmer

Ayrshire

 

The Future Farmer Foundation has been a great experience. I have gained knowledge in many areas like business planning and share-farming. It has helped me to grow my farming enterprise and develop some great relationships that will be a solid foundation for my future in the industry. I have learnt to look closer at my business and challenge every aspect of our current practice. 

  

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