Entries are open for the third Bayer Youth Ag-Summit to be held in Brussels, Belgium in October 2017, in partnership with two Belgian young farmers associations, Groene Kring and Federation des Jeunes Agriculteurs.
The Summit aims to inspire delegates to not just think, but to act, by developing solutions to enable the next generation of food producers to tackle global farming challenges, against a backdrop of a growing world population and increasing disconnection of young people from farming.
Around 100 selected young delegates from around the world will share ideas, develop solutions and engage in an open discussion on one of the most challenging questions: How do we feed a hungry planet sustainably? To apply, young people aged 18 to 25 are asked to submit an essay on the underlying causes of food insecurity and the effect it can have on a growing population.
The essay question is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Ability to demonstrate original ideas and passion to shape the future will be the key selection criteria for the Youth Ag-Summit with entries open online until January 13, 2017 at www.youthagsummit.com.
In 2015, delegates from 33 countries delivered the Canberra Youth Ag-Declaration, an action-oriented plan with recommendations on how young people can have the maximum impact on global food security, which was tabled at the United Nations Committee on World Food Security in Rome shortly afterwards.
It was a fantastic experience, says Oliver Cassels, one of the UK delegates. “It was a brilliant week, with an incredible bunch of diverse and interesting people. The amount of innovative ideas and passion, and positive atmosphere made it impossible not to feel empowered.”
Northern Irish delegate Emma McIlveen, who has recently passed her bar exams to become a barrister, has no hesitation in recommending young people to apply for the next Summit, even for people who are not pursuing traditional careers in agriculture. “We have entered uncertain times following the Brexit result and it is vital to understand the challenges ahead for rural communities,” she says. “It is therefore apt that this year’s conference is being held in the heart of Europe. I would greatly encourage young professionals from a wide range of backgrounds to consider applying to YAS 2017. You will undoubtedly be inspired, challenged and energised by this unique opportunity to engage on the pressing issue of food security.”
Four delegates will be chosen to represent the UK and Ireland at the Youth Ag-Summit 2017, says Mike Abram, PR & Communications manager for Bayer Crop Science in the UK. “Bayer is committed to encouraging young people to learn about agriculture and inspire the next generation. The Youth Ag-Summit is just one of the initiatives that we either run or support to promote farming as a career of choice, to reconnect young people with how food is produced, and to highlight the role of science and technology in sustainable agriculture.”