The Co-op has expanded its ‘Farming Pioneers’ education programme meaning the number of young farmers it will support is set to exceed 100 by 2019.
Originally launched in 2016, the programme was intended to run for two years but has been extended in line with the retailer’s renewed commitment to British farming.
The news was announced this week at the Co-op’s annual agriculture conference in Manchester, alongside talks from fruit supplier Minor Weir Willis’ Charlie Cleaver, and British Olympic athlete James Cracknell who presented the Co-op Farming Awards 2017.
Farming Pioneers are aged between 18 and 34 and take modules ranging from succession planning and supply chain relationships. The Co-op’s head of agriculture Ciara Gorst said: “We’ve always been vocal about the need to promote and support Britain’s farming industry. As with anything, actions speak louder than words, which is why we’re delighted to confirm our plans to extend our Farming Pioneers programme.
“Investment in farming means investment in farmers themselves and we want to help promote those people who may be just staring out in their careers but who could be the next leaders of British agriculture."
Red Tractor chief executive Jim Moseley said: “We applaud the Co-op for continuing to make substantial investment in agriculture. Today’s announcements should give consumers further assurance that retailers are doing the right thing and that they can buy with confidence.