A new course led by AHDB seeks to address a lack of leadership skills in UK farming and plug a productivity gap between the UK and other nations.

Currently less than 35 per cent of farmers and growers receive formal management training, yet agricultural businesses may lead and manage a wide variety of people – from contractors, to advisors, to employees.

Improving leadership and management will help the industry become more productive, with research showing a correlation between business performance and the level of skills and education.

AHDB industry skills development manager Tess Howe said: “There’s a lack of training to increase leadership and management skills in our industry, particularly in the livestock sector, where farmers believe that because they don’t employ many people, they don’t manage people. That’s not the case – working with your feed supplier, your vet, your bank or financial advisor, all takes management and leadership skills.

“What we’re learning from farmers and growers is that an intermediate management training programme is needed, something to help people who have some experience in management or leadership but are not at the stage where they’re making bigger-picture decisions. That’s why we’ve sponsored the effective manager training programme for levy payers and their staff, who receive a £350 discount on the Institute of Leadership Management (ILM) course.”

The four-day course leads to an internationally recognised qualification, the ILM Level Three Award, building a foundation of leadership capabilities, which give farmers confidence in managing people.

AHDB beef and lamb strategy director Will Jackson said: “Working as part of a supply chain farmers need to have the ability to lead and manage people with confidence. To help our industry to develop managers of the future and become more productive, we need to invest in skills.

“I’d encourage farmers to take part in this training opportunity, or support their staff to go on the course to keep employees working in agriculture for the long term and reduce recruitment costs, while increasing productivity.”

The Effective Manager Training Programme costs £200 for levy payers and runs over four days, beginning in October 2019 at a venue in Worcester.

To reserve a place contact the AHDB Knowledge Exchange Events Hub on 01904 771218 or email Naiya.khatri@ahdb.org.uk.