AHDB Potatoes launchedits first ever Next Generation programme at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire on11 May, 2015.
Fifteen high fliers, who successfully completed arobust selection process competing with applicants across all regions andmarket sectors, gathered for the first time. The group will complete ninecomprehensive business and technical days that will run until March 2016 andwill provide exposure to the whole supply chain.
Somerset-based Branston graduate trainee AmberCottingham enthused: Its great to be around so many other like-minded youngpeople who are clearly very passionate about potatoes.
We need to inspire the public to fall back in-lovewith potatoes once more. Im keen to make a positive impact on our industry.
AHDB skills champion and policy advisor for McCainFoods, Graham Finn encouraged the group to stretch their abilities. Your levelof aspiration will determine your level of achievement. You owe it toyourselves be the best you can be.
Opportunities in the potato sector are immense; anAHDB survey identified over 60 per cent of farming companies and supply chainbusinesses find it difficult to secure employees of the right calibre, with themajority believing theyll have a resource gap over the next five years.
John Reid is a partner in the family businessgrowing 200ha of potatoes and 400ha of combinable crops in Angus, Scotland.
I was drawn to the sector initially by the levelof mechanisation and complexity involved in producing the crop. But now it isthe potential financial returns that can be achieved from producing the crop toa high standard that appeals.
Im proud to be part of a group who areenthusiastic about the future of our industry. By broadening my knowledgeI aim to adapt our own business to cope with the challenges that inevitably lieahead.
Andrew Wilson, a grower for the Colton group andfamily tenants of the Castle Howard estate for decades, supplies to chip andcrisping markets. His unique practical experience, business outlook andstraight-talking approach, went down well with the group.
Theres always a better way of doing things, saysAndrew. I challenge current practice on a daily basis.
Draw on each others ideas and contributions andtake the best back to your own businesses.
In June, the Next Generation group will be hostedby McCain Foods (GB) Ltd and RS Cockerill in Yorkshire.