Opportunity of a Lifetime for Young Farming Candidates

16th June 2016

Cumberland Agricultural Society working with partners H&H Group, Carrs Billington, Clydesdale Bank, Dodd & Co, Newton Rigg and Cumbrian Young Farmers to provide international bursaries for next generation farmers.

Are you under the age of 30, involved in agriculture or farming, and do you have an inquisitive mind?  If the answer is yes, read on. 

If you are eager to learn more about farming practices in other parts of the world, the announcement today from the Cumberland Agricultural Society (CAS) of The Cumbrian Rural Study Travel Bursary (CRSTB), which is available to young farmers across Cumbria and the south west of Scotland, will certainly pique your interest.  Whether you would like to know all about pig production in Denmark, learn about Dutch dairy farming, discover how New Zealanders add value to their wool, or perhaps experience the ‘2000 mile harvest’ in the USA, this is an opportunity not to be missed.

This Bursary will provide a contribution toward travel expenses, and has been designed to support young farmers who want to learn about the diversity of the agricultural industry on a world wide scale.  Up to two cash awards will be made annually; the maximum value of each will be £2000.  The candidate must be under the age of 30, with an involvement in agriculture, in the CAS area.

The aim is to encourage travel, and to ensure that the young farmers return with something other than memories and photos.  It is intended to broaden the outlook of the region’s next generation farmers, enabling them to use the experience to benefit their agricultural enterprise back home, which will in turn contribute to the long term face of agriculture in Cumbria.

The scheme has been devised by the CAS, working with partners H&H Group, the Clydesdale Bank, Carrs Billington and Dodd & Co.  Also involved is Newton Rigg College which supports the academic side of the award and the Cumbrian Young Farmers Clubs.  Applicants must complete a formal application and be interviewed about the topic they will study during their travel.  When they return they will deliver a presentation of their experience at the AGM of the Agricultural Society.

Giving background to the travel bursary Robert Wharton, Chairman of the CAS said:  “We have a huge pool of committed and dedicated young agriculturalists, across Cumbria and south west Scotland and we want to encourage them to spread their wings; bringing their knowledge and skills back to Cumbria. This will not only be of benefit to them personally, it will also be of benefit to their contemporaries and other businesses.

We know that many young people would love to travel the world to learn more about their industry, but without the necessary resources, they are unable to do so. This support is their stepping stone to learn about agriculture from specialists in their field, on a global scale.”

Robert adds: “For any young farmer or person involved in Cumbria I just want to say that this bursary is about knowledge sharing, and this may be your only chance, so fill in the application, get out there, learn some news skills and grasp this opportunity.”

To apply, prospective young travellers should complete an application form, returning it by 31st October 2016, giving their background, what they want to study and the benefits they see, arising from the trip.  Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by the Society and the sponsors. Those that have a viable project, and can demonstrate the right attitudes will be awarded between £500 and £2000.  Up to 9 months will be given to complete their travel and to make their presentation.

The sponsors are keen to actively promote the bursaries as they are in the frontline of agricultural business.  Cumbria Young Farmers will support the scheme by spreading the word to members; Newton Rigg College will also be championing the scheme to members and local students – making applying for the award a priority for anyone keen to travel before starting a career in agriculture.

Heather Pritchard of H&H said: “We are very excited by the CAS awards, seeing how other people do things is vital for the competitive health of the agricultural sector – and it’s really important for us to add to the value of the travel experiences of young people.

“All sponsors will be actively involved, and if we know of anyone who might benefit, we will be encouraging them to apply.  As well as cash, sponsors will provide mentors to help the successful candidates with introductions, as well as training and support with presentations.”

All the organisations involved want young people of the rural and farming community in these two areas to go out into the world and investigate agriculture on their behalf.  Can they find out if New Zealand Lamb is better, for example, or ‘should we have Dairy Co-operatives, as is often the case in Europe?”

So if you want to travel, look, and learn about a specific agricultural subject that can benefit not only your own business but the wider agricultural community and open your eyes to alternatives, then this award is there to help you.

Applications can be downloaded from the Cumberland Agricultural Society website or by contacting the Cumberland Agricultural Society on T: 01228 812601 or via email to the secretary.