A NEW business training programme for aspiring dairy producers has been launched at Newton Rigg College, Penrith.

‘Entrepreneurs in Dairying’ is run by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) in collaboration with DairyCo, the NFU and The Andersons Centre.

Starting in September, it offers 15 places for specialist instruction accompanied by a unique mentoring scheme.

The initiative features a programme organised by RABDF, with eight weekly sessions.

Areas covered will primarily focus on succession planning, better business and financial management.

Towards the end, each student will be offered the opportunity to be matched with a mentor who will provide help and guidance for 12 months.

Each mentor will be fully trained as part of the Get Mentoring in Farming initiative, in which RABDF is fully involved.

Tim Brigstocke, RABDF policy director, said: “RABDF has discovered from its previous training and knowledge exchange activities that there is a need among people already working on farms, for example those five years out of college, herd managers, and farmers’ sons and daughters without a future on the family unit.

“They are all keen to progress, however, they require specialist training, such as how to farm in their own right through joint ventures or contracting arrangements and how to run a business.

“We are fully aware that farming can be a lonely career and our course participants would benefit from a guardian angel to discuss issues which will enable them to make better business decisions.”

A unique feature of the programme is the offer of a specialist mentor matched to the needs of the individual.

Mr Brigstocke said: “The opportunity for mentoring is an important element to business training, which has been lacking in agriculture when it is commonplace in other sectors.”

Newton Rigg’s Natalie Parker said: “The UK dairy industry needs enthusiastic, committed young people to lead the industry forward in an exciting and opportunistic time.

“I believe they are out there and we, as an industry, need to give them every opportunity and support for them to aspire into these roles.”