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Farming Connect’s Agri Academy members unveiled at the Royal Welsh Show

The new intake of members to the Agri-Academy, Farming Connect’s acclaimed personal development programme, was unveiled at the Royal Welsh Show.

The 37 successful candidates from the three programmes – Business & Innovation, Rural Leadership and the Junior Programme enjoyed a networking event with alumni of the academy, which has been running since 2012.

Kaye Davies, of Brecon, a member of the Business and Innovation programme in 2013, encouraged this year’s candidates to grasp all the opportunities on offer through the Agri-Academy and take advantage of the chance to meet like-minded people.

“The networking is really important. As a group, we still meet up and continue to support each other in our businesses and careers, we learn so much from each other’s continuous development and progression.”

Geraint Griffiths, from Llandeilo is currently a store manager for Wynnstay and would like to farm on a full-time basis. He is hoping to learn more about growing and running successful farm businesses from his fellow Business and Innovation candidates.

“I’m looking forward to meeting people with a similar mindset to share experiences and ideas, and find out about the processes that they have been through that have made their businesses successful,” said Geraint.

Public Protection Officer Jessica Williams, of Tywyn, who also farms with her husband, is looking forward to the networking opportunities offered through the rural leadership programme.

“I hope to gain a better understanding of the political issues relating to the agricultural industry, which are very relevant at the moment, to help formulate a positive approach for the future.”

Learning more about the wider agricultural industry is something that 17-year-old Ioan Williams, of Dinas Mawddwy is looking forward to.

“I would like to expand my knowledge of the industry and gain vital skills that can benefit agriculture in the future.”

In welcoming the new candidates, Eirwen Williams, head of rural programmes with Menter a Busnes, which delivers Farming Connect, said the need for agriculture to be innovative and nurture rural leaders is currently greater than ever.

“We need businesses that can thrive and survive, we need our rural communities to flourish and we also need to listen to young people as they are the future. That’s why the Agri-Academy is so important,” said Mrs Williams.

The Agri-Academy is delivered through Farming Connect, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

To find out about this year’s programme and the aspirations of the ‘Class of 2016’, visit the Agri Academy page.