The AHDB’s next generation board have met with politicians in Westminster to discuss the future needs and challenges of the potato sector.
The event provided insight into MPs dealings with rural issues and equipped delegates with the confidence to engage with the political process in the future.
Following a tour of the Houses, the group met with Nottinghamshire farmer and businessman Mark Spencer, a member of parliament for the Sherwood constituency.
“It’s about how you engage with this place to enable improvement in your own community,” said Mr Spencer.
“Make an appointment with your MP and ensure policy makers understand the impact of the policy changes they may make on your industry.”
The group also met Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP and chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee, Neil Parish MP to discuss industry challenges ranging from the need for quality people in the potato sector to how the food and agriculture industry is represented in government.
Summarising the prospects for the industry and the delegates themselves, Mr Spencer said: “We are very innovative as a UK industry. If you’re ambitious and driven, there is enormous potential to mark out a career in the potato supply chain. Go out there and do it.”
The group also visited the NFU’s office and met Matt Ware, head of government and parliamentary affairs, and Alex Godfrey, Lincolnshire farmer and chair of NFU’s Potato Forum, to explain the interaction between the organisation, AHDB and Parliament.
Next Generation ambassador Matt Stubbings encouraged other young growers to become involved in the initiative.
He said: “I’ve made great business contacts throughout which would have taken me years to collate and it’s given me a cross-section view of the whole industry. If you’re interested in the potato industry – you should definitely get involved because the opportunities are fantastic.”
The AHDB Potatoes’ Next Generation programme enables future industry ambassadors to learn about areas of business that impact on the potato industry and supporting development to become the catalysts of future industry success.
The Next Generation programme 2016/17 applications are now open. The deadline is January 31.
For more information visit www.potatoes.ahdb.org.uk/next-gen-application