The nature of farming is changing. Farmers are under increasing pressure to produce more with less – and that demands innovation and education at every stage; from genetic engineering to robotic development, and precision farming to new plant protection products.
Gone are the days of a career in agriculture being just about muddy boots; today’s agricultural workforce is made up of skilled business men and women with both the practical and scientific knowledge to keep up with an ever-evolving industry – and Cereals 2018 will help them do just that.
Whether you need to accrue points to maintain a certification, find out about university courses or speak to prospective employers, there is something for everyone at this year’s Cereals Event.
“The agriculture industry employs over 346,000 people and is no longer a sector open to just farmers’ sons and daughters,” says Jon Day, Cereals’ event director. “It’s becoming an increasingly professional and technical industry, so it is only right that the event reflects that.”
For the second year running, Harper Adams University will be the event’s official education partner. “We look forward to bringing more examples of our work to develop smart farming machinery to the event in June, following an exceptional 18 months for the university in this field,” says vice chancellor Dr David Llewellyn.
Agricultural universities and colleges are enjoying strong demand for their courses, with graduates and post graduates quickly securing employment in their chosen field, demonstrating the demand for high quality employees in the sector.
For those who prefer a hands-on approach to learning, apprenticeships are an alternative option. John Deere’s apprenticeships lead to Diplomas in Landbased Engineering and registration in the industry’s Landbased Training Accreditation scheme, explains Richard Halsall, John Deere’s training centre manager. “In subsequent years qualified technicians undergo further education and adult training within the John Deere University programme, on a career path that can ultimately lead to the highest possible LTA Master Technician accreditation.”
It is a very exciting time for the industry, with plenty of career options on offer – from farm management to robotic technology, and accountancy to technical sales – the full range of which will feature at this year’s event, says Mr Day.
Of course, formal education doesn’t just stop at degree level; many go on to study PhDs and Newcastle University will be profiling some its students’ latest cutting-edge research at the event. In collaboration with agronomists, scientists, land managers and farmers it is undertaking research in a number of areas, including food system security and bridging the gap between agritech innovations and the market.
“We are working to create the future of agrifood systems through innovative research, technology and engagement to deliver precision farming, improved crop health and protection, and sustainability of rural energy systems,” says Professor Rob Edwards, head of natural and environmental sciences.
Putting research and the latest knowledge into practice is a vital part of improving farm efficiencies. And there will be plenty of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points up for grabs at this year’s event. For spray operators, CPD points will be on offer from the National Register of Sprayer Operators (NRoSO). Members will be able to earn a maximum of six points: Two for registering their attendance at the NRoSO stand in the Syngenta Sprays & Sprayers arena and four from a range of exhibitors on the CPD knowledge trail.
Qualified agronomists will also be able to earn up to six BASIS points per day at the event, and Stephen Jacob, CEO at BASIS, expects plenty of demand given the past couple of years have been the busiest yet. “We had over 1,300 agronomists signing up for general attendance CPD points last year, following a significant increase in 2016,” he says.