Young Agriculturalists Speak to the Nation

Press Release June 2011

A distinguished panel of judges have lined up to decide who will win this year's Young Advocates for Agriculture, the national debating competition which gives young agriculturalists the chance to have their say on the future of the farming industry.

Taking place on the afternoon of 6th October at the Farmer's & Fletcher's Livery Hall in London, the aspiring young orators will be put through their paces by Denis Chamberlain, the Chief Executive of the Royal Agricultural Society and Simon Walters, Political Editor of the Mail on Sunday. They will be joined by Angharad Evans, a member of last year's winning team, who now works for DHL Agri-Food.

Commenting on this year's competition, Denis Chamberlain, Chairman of the Judging Panel, said "I am delighted to be part of an initiative that encourages young people from our industry to speak to the nation. The farming industry is an important part of our heritage and the views of our future agriculturalists on issues like sustainability and free global trade, and their impact on the industry, should become part of the broader political debate."

Simon Walters added, "I'm looking forward to hearing more about food and farming issues from young people at the heart of the industry. I don't claim to be Simon Cowell but I will be looking for the agricultural X factor!"

There has been keen interest in this year's competition and colleges who have submitted a team to date include Newcastle University, the Royal Agricultural College, Reading University, Aberystwyth University, Easton College, and Bishop Burton College. They will be joined by a team from the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs. Dr Alan Younger, Head of the School of Agriculture, Food & Rural Development at Newcastle University said "We are thrilled to be part of this event. It's great to see so much work being put into the creation of opportunities for young agriculturists to meet, head-on, the environmental and societal issues of our national industry. This is such an important part of education. The students who are participating are bright, enthusiastic and enormously grateful to the YAFA for co-ordinating this event and also organising a judging panel of such esteem."

The winning team will receive the Young Advocates for Agriculture Trophy, a cash prize and a days' media training with the well-known broadcaster Tom Heap, a regular contributor to BBC's Panorama and BBC Radio 4's flagship series Costing the Earth and winner of numerous news, current affairs and environment media awards.

Young Advocates for Agriculture is the brainchild of Jim Williams from the National Farm Research Unit and David Bolton from David Bolton Partners who have enjoyed the fulsome support of the Worshipful Company of Farmers from the outset.

Jim Williams concludes, "David Bolton and I have tried to choose motions which, without fear or favour, encourage our young advocates to think about the issues, argue their points courageously but above all, have fun and provide some entertainment. We believe that anyone who can speak convincingly and with good humour, will always win the day." Motions this year include: "This house believes that global free trade is good for British Farming" and "This house believes that British farming should be leading the way in reducing carbon emissions".

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