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« Corruption in the water sector | Main | Engaging the consumer »

June 28, 2008



Fresh Start is an interesting case. Steve Lindsay encourages the development of academies that can access funding via their own sources (regional charities, work in-kind) in the first instance.
It is therefore difficult to determine the extent to which Fresh Start is actually funded by DEFRA. Might be a good FOI request.
The development of other agricultural discussion groups is very positive in my opinion and likely to attract funding via the Rural Hubs and ultimately the Regional Development Agencies (AWM in the West Midlands region of the UK).
The key point would to be avoidance of re-inventing the wheel. There are lots of discussion groups out there, many of which are "club-based" and therefore restrictive to membership. Last year WM Young Farmers implemented a series of evening discussion groups to push this concept, but it was limited by 1)Lack of debating experience and therefore tendency for a few loud individuals to take-over and 2) Sponsors of the event leading it to become more of an advertising event.
It might be an idea to consider an "agricultural brainstrust" concept that runs properly managed debates. This could fit well with Agricultural Colleges and Universities nationally.
Something of this type should not be age-ist as the wider the age group, the broader the experience of each event and the more scope there is for mentoring, etc.

Louise Manning

I really agree with the points that you raise. We need to break new ground with mentoring, coaching and facilitating in the agricultural community. There is a whole range of tools that can be used to link farm based businesses and help to drive knowledge transfer. I think discussion groups that are run by experienced facilitators who can control the "eager beavers" and "loud lions" do have great potential in helping farmers to share good ideas and best practice.

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