19 July 2021

 

As COVID-19 restrictions came into force early last year, Farming Connect’s Study Visits, like many other activities across the country, came to a stop. This July, the application process resumes.

Since 2015, Farming Connect has given farmers and foresters in Wales the chance to visit other agricultural and forestry enterprises across the UK that could be of benefit to their own farming/forestry systems at home.

Groups of eligible farmers and foresters can apply for a maximum of £3,000 per group to fund 50% of the cost to visit anywhere in the UK for up to four days.

With COVID-19 restrictions now easing, the application process has reopened and registered individuals with Farming Connect have until Friday 30 July 2021 to apply. Successful candidates must undertake their visits between 20 August 2021 and 30 November 2021.

Einir Davies, who works for Farming Connect as manager of Development and Mentoring, urges farmers to really consider the potential benefits not only for their business but also for their work/life balance. 

“This past year has been challenging for everybody, but as key workers, farmers have continued to work tirelessly to feed the nation during extremely difficult circumstances. Now, with restrictions easing, Farming Connect can offer what for many, will be the first chance to take time away from the farm since the pandemic hit at the beginning of last year.”

“Study Visits allow like-minded people to come together and it’s a valuable way to discover improved methods of working, see best practice in action and bring home new ideas to innovate your enterprise,” said Einir. 

Past trips have seen farmers visit every corner of the UK, with many opting to organise a road trip which allows them to stop off at multiple businesses as they make their way across their chosen nation(s).

September 2018 saw members of Conwy Valley Cattle Group travel across the south of Scotland, from Selkirk in the Scottish borders to Sanquhar, a small market town in Dumfries and Galloway.

One notable venture they visited there was the Bowhill Estate, one of Scotland’s finest country estates. There, the group received a farm tour of the estate’s many enterprises from Welshman Sion Williams, who has worked as the Farm Manager of Bowhill Farming Ltd since 2004. 

The Study Visit scheme also gave Lampeter’s Women in Agriculture group funding to travel to London for two days where they attended the Meat Women in Business conference. Their intention was to further their understanding of the industry as well as to network with like-minded women from across the UK.

With COVID-19 still posing a risk across all four nations of the United Kingdom, following Governments’ guidelines will be of utmost importance when each study visit is underway. 

Therefore, although the feeling of excitement returns as life begins to get back to normal, the health and wellbeing of attendees will remain at the forefront of the planning process, and detailed guidelines can be found on the Farming Connect website.

Those interested must apply by Friday 30 July 2021 by downloading the application form on the Farming Connect website. 

Farming Connect, which is delivered by Menter a Busnes and Lantra, has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.


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