A new educational video, recorded by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC), aims to highlight the role crop protection plays in food production and the career opportunities available in agronomy.
The film, which was the brainchild of NFYFC’s Agriculture and Rural Issues (AGRI) Steering Group, features an interview with award winning agronomist Sean Sparling, Chairman of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC).
In a conversation with fellow agronomist and NFYFC’s AGRI Vice Chairman George Baxter from Cambridgeshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (FYFC), Sparling explains the importance of crop protection in the food process.
“Everything we do is geared to the health of the plant and protecting the environment. What we’re trying to do is to ensure the food we produce at the end of the process is safe for people to eat and there will be plenty of it,” explained Sparling.
With 30,000 species of plant pests and 10,000 species of insect pests, the video shows how agronomists follow an integrated approach to pest management.
“80% of the insects in an oil seed rape canopy for example are beneficial,” reveals Sparling. “They’re friends to us and we don’t want to damage these. I would say in nine out of 10 of my visits on farm we don’t resort to spraying.”
Filmed in Lincolnshire and supported by the Crop Protection Association, the video demonstrates NFYFC’s partnerships with industry bodies and its commitment to helping highlight careers in agriculture.
The film follows on from a Defra-funded project with LEAF Education to develop a training session called Future Farming that is available for both YFCs and year 9 school children. NFYFC is keen to spread the message about the many career paths available for young people in the food and farming industries.
“It’s a very hands-on, practical video that shows two agronomists having a chat about their work and why they do what they do,” says 27 year-old George Baxter. “We hope the information both Sean and I share about growing and protecting crops will explain the role of the agronomist and encourage those thinking of subject and career choices to explore this line of work.”
Sarah Mukherjee, chief executive of the Crop Protection Association, said: “This informative video follows on from the Crop Protection’s Annual Conference, where there was agreement from industry that a collaborative effort is needed to send out clear messages regarding the role of science in supporting the production of safe and affordable food.
“We are delighted to be working with NFYFC on this project to help share more information about the importance of crop protection and roles in the industry.”