Shropshire Star

Shropshire NFU looking to inspire the next generation

Farming industry professionals will look at ways to engage the next generation about food production and careers in Shropshire.

Josh Payne: Picture by Simon Hadley.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) currently has more than 40 staff members who speak in schools and more than 200 farmers and growers who all bring an array of skills, talent, expertise and experience as NFU Farmers for Schools ambassadors.

Following on from the success of last year’s Farmers for Schools recruitment, four sessions will be held across the country for NFU staff including one at Harper Adams University, near Newport, on April 29.

The innovative work of NFU Education also extends beyond traditional classrooms with live lessons, including Science Farm Live, Harvest Thali and The Lamb Diaries reaching more than 360,000 students across 5,000 classrooms last year.

These lessons, which are going on over the next 12 months, integrate agriculture with the national curriculum to teach students through their science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

Josh Payne, NFU Education manager, said: “More than 250 ambassadors have spearheaded the Farmers for Schools initiative since its inception, visiting primary and secondary schools across the country to help children learn about the vital work British farmers and growers do to produce safe, tasty and nutritious food, and how this goes hand in hand with caring for the land and environment.

“2023 was a landmark year for us as the programme ploughed new grounds in agricultural education, reaching more than 500,000 students across the nation – we are keen to extend our reach in 2024, which is why we are hosting four new training sessions.

“The impact is evident, with the ambassadors having visited more than 70 schools from September 2023 to now and delivering assemblies on farming to more than 9,000 schoolchildren – that’s an increase of 180 per cent and 155 per cent respectively.

“Our ambassadors show passion and knowledge for British farming and in teams of two regularly deliver two 30 to 45 minute assemblies over the course of an academic year, but we do so much more through our on-farm work and online engagement.”

The Shropshire training session is on from 10am to 3pm looking at what is required during school visits including DBS checks – these are funded by NFU Education.

Farmers for Schools Ambassador Kate Mayne, who farms near Shrewsbury and is NFU Shropshire deputy chair, urged fellow farmers and NFU staff to get involved.

She said: “Farmers for Schools appealed to me because I wanted to share my passion and experiences of farming in Shropshire and it is so important to encourage young people to take an interest in what we do to produce their food.

“I love doing it and it is so rewarding speaking to pupils about what we do to grow crops and rear livestock as well as all the work we do to look after the environment, giving them the other side of the discussion around climate change.

“I’m looking forward to doing more talks and spreading awareness about how important British farming is.

“Those farmers and staff doing future NFU training sessions will not regret it as speaking in schools about what we do is the absolute best.”

School teachers and farmers who want to know more about the work of NFU education can visit on the web.

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