Newcastle University Scoops Young Advocates Award

Press Release October 2011

Two students from Newcastle University have won this year's Young Advocates for Agriculture in a keenly fought debating competition held at the Farmers & Fletchers Livery Hall on Thursday 6th October. Presenting the prizes, the Minister for Agriculture and Food, the Rt Hon Jim Paice MP, expressed his admiration for all the young agriculturalists taking part in the debates and encouraged them to continue their interest in current farming issues and the development of their public speaking skills.

"Our industry needs its advocates," said Mr Paice. "We've always suffered because we don't have enough people out there who can positively promote and explain what we're doing, and some of those subjects you debated this afternoon do take some explaining. There's going to be the need for constant explanation otherwise our voice is dimmed by the much larger, louder voices of those who don't fully understand or have some other perspective."

Winners of Young Advocates for Agriculture 2011

Rt Hon Jim Paice MP with the winners of Young Advocates for Agriculture Aimee-Rose Sharp and Charlotte Flint from Newcastle University

Newcastle's Aimee-Rose Sharp and Charlotte Flint opposed the motion "this house believes that global free trade is good for British Farming" and made a forceful argument instead for a global trading environment that acknowledged the high standards and regulatory framework British farmers adhere to. Their use of humour, rhetoric and carefully researched statistics won them the Young Advocates for Agriculture trophy, a cash prize and a day's 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. They will be joined on the media training day by Kerry Jerman and Faye Herdman, from Aberystwyth University, runners-up in the competition.

An audience of industry leaders, farmers and agricultural students was clearly entertained by the lively debates and speeches from the floor. Judges Simon Walters, the Political Editor of the Mail on Sunday, Richard Brooks, a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Farmers, and Angharad Evans, a member of last year's winning team, listened carefully as motions focussing on the importance of wildlife and the relationship between British farmers and their customers were also debated. Speaking on behalf of the Judges, Simon Walters, noted both the oratory skills and the ability of the young agriculturalists to take on complex industry issues and present persuasive arguments.

Established to encourage new voices in agriculture and give young people a platform to debate the current issues that will affect the future of the food and farming industry, Young Advocates for Agriculture is the brainchild of Jim Williams from the National Farm Research Unit and David Bolton from David Bolton Partners. Young Advocates for Agriculture is sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Farmers.

"Whether it is the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, the case for genetically modified crops or the opportunities from scale of a super dairy, it is important that we identify and encourage those who will be responsible for the future success of the farming industry to take up the key arguments for our industry and carry them to a wider public," said Jim Williams.

Young Advocates for Agriculture 2011

Rt Hon Jim Paice MP with the debaters, judges and organisers

Next year's competition will take place on October 4th 2012 and entries are being encouraged from both agricultural students and those working within the industry under the age of 25.

For more information on how to enter Young Advocates for Agriculture visit or email Jacqui Freeman on .

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