National farming competition opens to showcase agri-careers

LEAF Education, in partnership with Coleg Cambria Llysfasi and Bayer, has launched its 2022 National Food, Farming and Natural Environment competition.

Now in its fourth year, the competition is leading the way in opening young peoples’ eyes to the highly skilled and technologically advanced agri-careers available within our sector.

Since the competition first launched in 2018, more than a third of the high achieving students who have taken part have gone on to study at land-based colleges. Most importantly, all students involved, have reported that taking part in the competition ‘positively changed their perception of the farming industry’.

With the theme ‘Farming is about working with the natural environment’ the competition engages secondary school students with farming, food production and the natural environment, with a chance to win inspiring on-farm experiences.

Carl Edwards, LEAF’s Director, Education and Public Engagement said “Last year we saw huge growth in the number of entries to the competition and during the process, it was wonderful to see a real change in students’ understanding of food production. Gen-Z are becoming more engaged, conscientious ambassadors of their role in creating a more sustainable planet and it’s really exciting to capture this enthusiasm, while demonstrating and showcasing the range of future career opportunities available within the agricultural sector.

Entries are now open to secondary schools (years 9-11) across England and Wales, with teachers invited to submit an application explaining why they feel their school deserves a place in the competition. The competition will see entrants whittled down to ten semi-finalist schools who will enjoy on-farm visits, followed by a final activity filled weekend for the top six schools, at Coleg Cambria Llysfasi in North Wales. Students will take part in a wide range of hands-on farm activities with the weekend culminating in a debate around a farming related hypothesis on the important role soil has in sustainable food production. The winning school will be crowned winner of the ‘National Competition in Food, Farming and Natural Environment 2022’.

Mark Buckingham, Bayer, Corporate Engagement Leader UK & Ireland commented “Nature supports us and farming feeds us, the younger generation are becoming very aware of this balance. This competition gives students a real-world opportunity to discover an in-depth knowledge of our countryside and food producers working in it, the issues and what roles and opportunities are available for them to influence the future of food and farming. We’re delighted to be supporting them in this discovery”.

Elin Roberts, Head of Site at Llysfasi, said: “We are really excited to once again partner with LEAF Education for this engaging and inspiring competition. It provides a fantastic opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience of a land-based college whilst also highlighting future routes into the industry and how young people can be part of the industry’s vital role in delivering climate crisis solutions. We are really looking forward to meeting this year’s finalists and welcoming them to the College.”

Dates for your diary: Entries open on 18 March 2022 and close on 8 April 2022. Judging will take place on 27 April 2022, with the semi-final farm visits taking place at a convenient time to suit the school, including a travel bursary (where necessary) between May – July 2022. The finals weekend will take place between 21-23 October 2022.

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