Earlier this year, 11 young people embarked on a study tour of New Zealand, thanks to the Louise Hartley Memorial Fund.
But what are the benefits of overseas travel and how do you go about securing your place on a trip?
Travelling to learn and develop your knowledge, self-confidence and self-reliance is hard to put a value on, but well-structured and planned travel can have a hugely positive impact on people’s lives.
Paul Fox, of Kite Consulting, who was influential in planning the Louise Hartley Memorial Fund study tour, says trips such as the recent three-week visit to New Zealand change and influence people’s decisions at work and at home, ‘redefining what they do and how they do it’.
He says: “It pays to be well-prepared, but it is also important to allow enough time in your schedule to gain from those unexpected opportunities and serendipitous moments when you discover something entirely unexpected.
“It is very important to travel with an open mind and not to just reinforce your existing prejudices.
“Meeting people with different points of view and ways of thinking will challenge your own mindset and make you think about issues in different ways.
“Meeting the same kind of people as you, who do the same type of things, will just keep you rolling down the same old rut.”
Echoing comments by The Resilient Farmer Doug Avery, Paul says as farmers, the industry operates in a constantly challenging and changing environment and it needs to learn to be disruptors, or become the disrupted, and be prepared to embrace change and the opportunity it creates.
He says: “Travelling helps us strengthen our resolve and recognise and prepare ourselves for these challenges with a sense of optimism and purpose.”
John Allen, also of Kite Consulting, and who was a key voice in suggesting New Zealand as a location for the study tour, says he personally benefited from a similar experience to the country in the 1990s and was keen to promote something similar to help youngsters learn about business resilience.
He says: “They all had to win a place on the trip, with more than 80 applicants for 11 places.
“Feedback has been outstanding. We hear them talking about becoming more business-like, more flexible over making change and taking advantage of disruptive factors, such as Brexit, rather than becoming ‘victims’.”
Travel opportunities for young people help promote a first-hand experience of different cultures and working practices, leaving many with the inspiration to transform their own farming businesses.
This was the case for Pembrokeshire Young Farmer Berwyn Warlow, who travelled to New Zealand through YFC Travel’s working scholarship, spending October 2018 to January 2019 overseas with the help of the C. Alma Baker Trust.
The trust paid for his flights and visa, while the scholarship meant he was paid for his work while over there.
At home, Berwyn lives and works at Ffynnongain Farm, a 407-hectare beef, dairy and arable farm, while in New Zealand, he spent three months working at Limestone Downs Farm, a dairy, beef and sheep farm about three times the size.
He then spent his earnings from the trip on another month travelling the country.
Berwyn says: “I would definitely like to take on the New Zealand way of life. It was a lot easier farming over there.
“Over here we live to work, but over there they work to live.”
Although thrown into the deep end with the farm’s 9,000 sheep, something Berwyn says was an ‘eye-opener’, the reality of the work-farm balance in New Zealand was one he hopes to implement at home.
One thing that particularly stood out to him was that the cattle and dairy operation on the farm kept the stock outside all-year-round, despite having 1,200 cattle and 600 milking cows.
He says: “Working hours were much better and, despite working hard, everyone always made time for themselves. That is something I am trying to do more of while also encouraging my family to do the same.
“I would definitely travel again. The trip has given me more confidence and the knowledge I can stand on my own two feet.”