Two promising Norfolk farming students attended farming’s most important industry event after winning a Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) and Bidwells competition.
The 2018 winners of the Norfolk Scholars competition - Helen Reeve (35) and Will Mitchell (28), who both live in Norfolk - have just returned from the Oxford Farming Conference, which was held over the three days earlier this month.
The young farmers heard from a range of national and international speakers from the agricultural sector including farmers, agriculturalists, scientists, inventors and politicians.
Attending the conference was an incredible experience. One of the highlights for me was the politics session where (Environment Minster) Rt Hon Michael Gove MP gave his outline for the future UK agricultural policy, which had an emphasis on promoting the environment and sustainable farming.
Aside from the thought provoking presentations and discussions there was the chance to network with individuals who share a passion for agriculture. I am very grateful to Bidwells and the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association for giving me the opportunity.
The conference was an amazing experience. Discussing the future of the agricultural industry in some of the most historic buildings in the country was quite an eye-opener.
It’s hard to pin-point the most inspiring speaker from the conference but, without a doubt, the experience of attending the conference will stay with me for a long time.
The 'Norfolk Scholar' programme was designed to underpin the future of the region's agriculture sector and it is now in its fifth year.
The programme enables two people aged between 18 and 35, who live work and/or study in Norfolk, to attend the annual Oxford Farming Conference.
Bidwells has a strong rural presence and manages an extensive area of the English and Scottish countryside and coastline. It is one of the leading consultancies in the high-growth forestry, renewables, and agriculture markets.
Mark Nicholas, Director at the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA), said:
We are particularly pleased to be supporting this initiative with Bidwells. As an Association we have a strong focus on encouraging and developing bright young people within the agricultural industry. Both Will and Helen are highly talented individuals that I am sure will benefit hugely from attending this event.
James Brooke, Head of Farm and Rural Agency at Bidwells said:
We are delighted to support passionate young students such as Will and Helen. Events like this really help to shape ambitions, form new ideas and inspire the next generation of farmers; something more important than ever before.