Monday, 31 January 2011

"YESS" is a sucess - rise in applications for Young Entrants to Welsh farming (From Smallholder)

"YESS" is a sucess - rise in applications for Young Entrants to Welsh farming

8:50am Monday 31st January 2011

The second year of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Young Entrants Support Scheme (YESS) closed for applications on 14 January 2011, and initial feedback points to the second year of the scheme being just as successful as the first year. The scheme has received 144 applications to join the scheme in 2011-12, which is a 14% increase in applications compared to the first year.

Wales’ Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said: “The level of interest in the YESS scheme demonstrates the need for targeted support for new entrants to farming.

“The first year of the scheme has resulted in many excellent and innovative projects that clearly support the scheme’s main objectives of supporting young people setting up on their own for the first time, and encouraging succession in the farming industry, and I’m sure that this will also be the case in the second year.

“Another aspect of the scheme that is beginning to bear fruit is the mentoring, which is giving successful scheme applicants access to help and guidance from established, successful farmers in the first years of their new business venture. Initial feedback from both mentors and applicants has been very positive and confirms what the industry already knows: that there are a great many, highly skilled, enthusiastic, and committed young people who wish to enter the industry; that these young people will gain a great deal by working with the best people in the industry; and that we need to support these young people to ensure that the agricultural industry in Wales has a successful future.”

John Edward Thomas is a 23 year old who, from an early age, wanted a chance to run his own farming business. John put forward a tender to take over a small council holding near Harlech in Gwynedd. John was successful and he subsequently applied to the YESS scheme in 2010-11 for support towards buying the start up equipment a new entrant needs for a new business. His application was successful and he received £6,000, which has enabled him to develop his 50-acre farming enterprise. Through the scheme, John also received valuable support from his mentor, Gerwyn Davies, and from Welsh Assembly Government officials.

John said: “Having a scheme designed to support young people wanting to run a farm has been a great help to me personally. Additional start-up funding enabled me to buy the machinery I needed to get my business off the ground. Just as valuable, if not more so, was the excellent mentoring I received both from Assembly Government officials and my mentor Gerwyn. Through Gerwyn, I was put in touch with other experienced people who inspired me and gave me expert advice which has been a huge help. The type of advice I received included stock management, increasing my knowledge on pasture management, and controlling costs in the first few months of my new venture.”

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