Business and Innovation Programme

Are you passionate about farming, and about your future? If so, we want to hear from you…


Agri Academy Business and Innovation Programme

The fully subsidised Farming Connect Agri Academy Business and Innovation Programme aims to:

  • Improve your understanding of the matters that affect the success of your business 
  • Improve your awareness of the opportunities and threats that face your business in the future 
  • Support personal development through workshops and seminars 
  • Offer opportunities to meet industry experts and business leaders 
  • Create an environment to improve business management skills 
  • Build a network of the most forward-looking agri-business people in Wales 

Candidates will receive one-to-one support from an experienced mentor. The ‘Academy Challenge’ will involve preparing a management plan for a working family farm.


The application window for Agri Academy 2023 is now closed. See below the successful candidates for 2023


Initiation & Introductions 


Royal Welsh Show

24 July 2023


Understanding my supply chain

Leicestershire, England

15 - 17 September 2023


Overseas study visit

Ontario, Canada

1 – 7 October 2023


Building my business 

Brecon, Powys

16 - 19 November 2023 



Royal Welsh Winter Fair 

27 November 2023


What next? 


12 - 13 December 2023


IMPORTANT – applicants must attend all of the sessions above and must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the study visit. Failure to commit fully to the whole Agri Academy experience can result in expulsion from the programme and a requirement to repay the costs of the trip. Members cannot be absent from residential sessions, unless either of the following apply 

  • Immediate family bereavement
  • Personal illness and a valid doctor's note
  • Urgent and unavoidable care responsibilities for a dependent 

For more information, please contact your Local Development Officer.

The successful candidates for our 2023 Business and Innovation Programme:

Alice Bacon
Alice Bacon

Clynderwen, Pembrokeshire

“The Agri Academy experience will, I hope, give me the confidence to talk to a range of different experts, including when I meet our customers and suppliers, as my future plans, underpinned by our Start to Farm contract, will see me taking on a wider role in the enterprise with more involvement in business planning.’’

Angharad Edwards
Angharad Edwards

New Moat, Pembrokeshire

“I'm very aware of the benefits that learning about other businesses brings, and the Agri Academy will be a treasure trove of knowledge, experiences and tips.

“All the sessions sound very exciting and are well suited to the development of Llaeth Preseli and the farm.’’

Claire Jones
Claire Jones

Llanddewi-Brefi, Ceredigion


The Agri Academy, she says, will help challenge her mindset and allow her to learn new skills to successfully develop the business.

“I’m looking forward to joining fellow applicants on the Agri Academy programme to make new connections near and far and sharing my experience with others.’’

Dafydd Owen
Dafydd Owen

Dolwen, Conwy

“As a member of the Agri Academy I am looking forward to meeting industry experts and business leaders to improve my understanding of the issues that will impact my business, to build business resilience and to identify any flaws in my future plans."

“It is a very unique and rewarding opportunity to be part of a platform that will allow me to meet individuals from some of the most forward-thinking agricultural businesses in Wales, more important now than ever as the agricultural sector prepares for critical times ahead.’’

Emma Bradbury
Emma Bradbury

Llandovery, Carmarthenshire

“I am passionate about the agricultural industry and believe that the Agri Academy will provide a unique experience that will be key in broadening my horizons, allow me to explore farming operations further afield and to gain knowledge to enhance my own business."

“My business acumen also needs to grow alongside my aspirations for my business and I see this as being integral to making the next step in business growth and expansion and diversification.’’


Erin McNaught
Erin McNaught

Rhos-y-gwaliau, Gwynedd

Being part of the Agri Academy is particularly relevant to that, she says.

“I want to take every opportunity to question and learn, and also hope to gain an insight into other businesses, especially in other countries. 


George Sturla
George Sturla

Holywell, Flintshire

“This networking opportunity will allow me to develop relationships with future industry leaders, connections which I am sure will help me contribute to our agricultural industry in Wales."

“Given that my meat box business is in its infancy I will benefit from learning about new opportunities and how to protect my business against potential threats to future proof it and facilitate growth.’’

Gwern Thomas
Gwern Thomas

Felinfach, Ceredigion

He describes winning a place on the Business & Innovation Programme as a “golden opportunity’’.

“I'm not just looking for education; I'm looking for a transformative experience – one that will shape my character, broaden my horizons, and inspire me to make a positive impact on my future.’’

Hannah Priest
Hannah Priest

Coed Y Paen, Monmouthshire

“Leadership is vital in building the strength and power of the industry. In a time where a lot of us are more visible, especially via social media, it’s a great chance to share insights into the world of food, farming and agriculture like never before.

“I feel that leaders become impactful when they engage and share information with others. In a continually transforming industry, it is essential to develop and continue to learn.’

Ifan Huws
Ifan Huws

Welshpool, Powys

“I am looking forward to meeting like-minded people to discuss business ideas and to see new things."

“The Agri Academy will be useful in challenging me on my ideas and strategy.’’

Marc Griffiths
Marc Griffiths

Llansantffraid, Powys

“I am looking forward to scrutinising what we are doing from a different perspective and will use the skills and business ideas I discover along the Agri Academy journey to help inform any changes we may introduce in the future.’’

Rhys Evans
Rhys Evans

Rhyd-y-Main, Gwynedd 

“I’m very excited about what the future holds but I’m also aware that realising our ambitions on the farm will be no mean feat. 

“I believe that the Agri Academy programme will give me the necessary tools to attain my goals by opening my eyes to novel and innovative farming technologies and techniques that could be replicated on the home farm.’’