A Norfolk-based scheme is to play a key role helping farmers develop vital new skills in marketing and sustainable land management after securing £1.5m of government cash.

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The University of East Anglia will lead the training project, which has been funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and seeks to bring the right skills and knowledge to rural areas.

The Defra funding comes as part of a £20m government business training scheme, announced by environment secretary Owen Paterson.

The UEA, which is working in collaboration with Easton College, will use its share of the funding to provide as many as 6,000 people working in the agriculture, horticulture and forestry sectors with access to subsidised training via its Centre for Contemporary Agriculture (CCA) LandSkills programme.

And it is hoped that access to first-class training in land management, supply chain and benchmarking and marketing will help rural businesses take up new opportunities and compete on a global scale.

Prof John Turner, UEA plant scientist and CCA chairman, said: “This award from Defra is a wonderful opportunity for UEA to combine its knowledge and resources with those of training partners in CCA LandSkills, to develop and improve skills in the English agricultural food production workforce.

“We will aim in particular to improve the competitiveness of the industry in an ever-changing and increasingly challenging market.”

Announcing the funding, Mr Paterson said: “Having the right skills to run a business is crucial if budding entrepreneurs want to be successful.

“For too long the needs of rural business people have been overlooked. Those days are now over.

“Businesses in the remotest parts of the country will now have access to the best training so they can grow and help our country to compete even more in the global race.”

As well as focusing on the business side of rural industries, the CCA LandSkills programme will also raise awareness about environmental issues – to strike a sustainable balance between efficient production and looking after natural habitats, reducing the industry’s carbon footprint, and managing land responsibly for future generations.

Courses are delivered in conjunction with colleges including Easton College, Otley College in Suffolk, and Myerscough College near Preston.

shaun.lowthorpe@archant.co.uk

5 comments

  • If farmers haven't worked out sustainable land management before they embark on that career then they shouldn't be farmers. Most farmers in Norfolk are farming family land so they should have learned about land management in their cradles.

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    Electra

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • We hear what you are saying, Electra, , but we have got an election coming up in May and at least this is soothing news to their ears. Where will farming's future lie, when UKIP and many within the current minority coalition want to cut them off EU subsidies?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • Herein lies the problem with underfunding and cuts to spending on schools, the NHS, police, and other "traditional" public sector activities. If they had to continually chase grants, secure funding, or however one wishes to describe it, from some govt body or quango as part of a big "initiative" with associated favourable press release for govt, these contracting public services would find themselves awash with public money. Clever old UEA, they know how to maintain the constant flow of funding and keep their bods in jobs, probably won a grant to fund a project to set up a system of perpetual grant-chasing. Diversification is the key, you see. Could be killer slugs one week, and teaching poultry farmers to suck eggs the next.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

  • Those poor farmers.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • How much of this funding will be used for its intended purpose, and how much will be swallowed up by the UEA Admin department ?.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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