28 April 2023


The search for Farming Connect Agri Academy 2023 candidates begins on Monday, 1 May, with the application window open until Friday 26 May 2023. 

The Agri Academy, Farming Connect’s flagship personal development programme has, over the last 11 years, brought together some of the prominent stars in the agricultural based industry in Wales today.  Split between the Business & Innovation programme and the Junior Programme (for those aged 16 – 19 years), a series of activity-packed residential sessions of mentoring, training and networking, will again provide this year’s successful applicants with the inspiration, skills and contacts they need to become confident, high-achieving individuals, in whatever business or line of work they choose. 

We’re here to nurture and draw out the talents and entrepreneurial skills of the trailblazers, the influencers and innovators of the future,” says Llŷr Jones, leader of the Business & Innovation programme, who is himself an alumni of the Agri Academy. Corwen-born Llŷr, who farms - amongst many other things - in North Wales, was an Agri Academy member ten years ago. He credits the experience with giving him the skills and confidence to aim high and says the networks helped transform him from the keen young farmer he then was, to the experienced businessman he has become. 

Described as someone who has entrepreneurship running through his veins, this particular trailblazer has set up numerous successful enterprises in North Wales, including sheep, rearing calves, free range egg production, tourism, renewables and Blodyn Aur – one of Wales’ leading rapeseed oil enterprises. 

Llŷr’s programme which will include training and mentoring to better understand the factors that can affect business success, developing diversification ideas to set up a new business or enterprise and much more. Llŷr has planned a programme of study tours to some of the most successful and pioneering farm businesses in both the UK and Canada, a country already at the forefront of environmentally friendly farming systems and sustainable ways of working.  

The Junior programme will be led this year by young agriculture graduate Sam Alexander (27) who grew up on a cattle and sheep farm in the Gower Peninsula.  Sam, a great communicator with a confident, enthusiastic personality, understands only too well just what it means to be starting out as a young or new entrant to farming.  She and her husband are still optimistic they will one day find a tenancy or share-farming opportunity but for now, she’s enjoying her role as a sustainability manager for a major agricultural supplies company and is very much looking forward to her role as leader of the Junior Programme. 

Sam’s timetable includes training and mentoring on ‘finding your voice’ within the industry, learning press and media skills and a study tour of the Netherlands – where agriculture and horticulture often go hand in hand. Sam says she can’t wait to meet this year’s group, and will be encouraging them to be open to new ideas, to voice their opinions and to ask questions that challenge the status quo. 

Both Llŷr and Sam agree that if you’re looking for inspiration, motivation and the encouragement that will enable you to seek out new opportunities, the confidence to put good ideas into practice, then you should apply for the Farming Connect Agri Academy. 

“The Agri Academy has a fantastic track record of paving the way to business and career success for so many of its alumni – opening doors and creating opportunities is what we’re all about, which is why you should apply today!” 

Click here for information on eligibility criteria, dates of the residential sessions, more detailed information on what this year’s programme includes, and to apply!

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