- EIP-AGRI Projects
- Focus groups
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Embracing innovation is key for farm and forestry businesses that want to grow and prosper. As part of its Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, the Welsh Government recently launched an ambitious programme for knowledge transfer and innovation support for farmers, foresters and food manufacturing businesses in Wales.
The Welsh Government is working in partnership with key stakeholders in the Welsh farming industry to set up its Strategic Framework for Agriculture. At the heart of this initiative is the vision of a modern, professional, sustainable and profitable industry that will be less reliant on public support in the future.
A number of initiatives are already in place, or have been planned, to help bring about the culture and behavioural change that will be needed to make this vision a reality in the farming industry in Wales. Amongst those initiatives is the new ‘Farming Connect’ programme offering knowledge transfer and innovation support for farm, forestry and food manufacturing businesses in Wales.
One of the key aims of this new programme is to promote innovation and best practice by offering training, specialist advice and mentoring tailored to individual business needs. It also provides the opportunity to learn from sector specialists from Wales, the UK and beyond, and to share and develop innovative ideas and solutions.
Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food in the Welsh Government said at the launch of the new programme: “Our top performing farmers and foresters are already committed to lifelong learning and knowledge exchange, and they are open to innovative new ideas and more efficient ways of working. I want all farmers in Wales to follow their lead. I want them to appreciate that personal and business development of the kind that’s available through Farming Connect, when used wisely, represents a significant investment in their business.”
On 28 January 2016, Rebecca Evans officially launched the EIP-AGRI within Wales. EIP Wales, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and Welsh Government, will be supported by the Farming Connect Knowledge Exchange Hub. This Exchange Hub is hosted at Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS). At the launch, Deputy Minister Evans said: “EIP-AGRI is now a key component in strengthening research and innovation in agriculture throughout Europe. I am particularly delighted that this service is now available in Wales”.
Farming Connect’s Knowledge Exchange Hub will be the first point of contact for farmers and foresters in Wales who are interested in carrying out a project to trial a new idea or technology through EIP Wales. Funding will be available to facilitate the formation of Operational Groups. The Knowledge Exchange Hub will provide guidance on what research had already been conducted, so that Operational Groups can benefit from existing knowledge as they develop their own solutions. ‘Innovation Brokers’ are available to support and facilitate the development of Operational Group projects and guide them through the application process.
Professor Jamie Newbold, Director of the Advanced Training Partnership at IBERS, explained that “this new collaboration between Farming Connect and Aberystwyth University’s IBERS will strengthen links between farmers and foresters and research scientists. It has the potential to provide significant benefits for the industry in Wales”.
Visit the Farming Connect website to stay up to date: www.gov.wales/farmingconnect
Farming Connect is a scheme within the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is focusing significant investment from Welsh Government and the EU to revitalise rural communities and provide support for agriculture and forestry in Wales.