A recruitment process is underway to enlist 10 farmers to help shape the delivery and services of Wales’ flagship agricultural support programme.
In a period of significant change for Welsh agriculture, the Farming Connect programme is establishing a Farmer Steering Group to do everything from helping to increase engagement with the service to providing important feedback.
The farmers will act as representatives for the wider industry, explains Farming Connect Programme Board Chair Euryn Jones.
Among their responsibilities will be to provide feedback on the service to ensure delivery and reach are maximised and to develop strategies that promote the core objectives of the programme.
Mr Jones says the Group will also be encouraged to challenge the status quo, to help push boundaries within the programme.
“We want to see businesses making greater use of Farming Connect services so our farmer representatives will be challenged to suggest ways of reaching businesses that haven’t engaged with the programme’s activities, or indeed those who have registered and haven’t taken up the services, to increase the number of interventions per business,’’ he says.
Farmers and industry stakeholders are being asked to nominate a fellow farmer with his or her approval.
The new Farming Connect Programme runs until March 31 2025, ahead of the new Sustainable Farming Scheme being introduced.
Mr Jones says its role is arguably more important now than ever.
“The Programme aims to support the agricultural industry, through a period of significant change to develop and become more resilient, competitive and better placed to thrive in an increasingly market-orientated environment,’’ he says.
The Group will meet four times, both online and in person, and there will be a dedicated communication platform for providing feedback and exchanging ideas.
Farmers will be recruited from across Wales and from different sectors, demographic and geographical location.
The application window has now opened and will run until July 31 2023. To submit a nomination and for further details, visit the Farming Connect website at https://businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect