Posted 25 February 2014
Harper Adams University student, Catherine Bennett, represented the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs at a European conference in Helsinki recently.
The 21-year-old from Meifod, Powys, joined two other NFYFC members at the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) Spring Parliament to discuss issues that policy holders need to address to support the future of young farming.
Catherine, who studies BSc (Hons) Agri-food Marketing with Business Studies, is currently on placement with the agriculture division of McDonald’s in London. She said: “I was proud to represent NFYFC and the trip was a great way to meet young farmers from all over Europe.
“The seminar was an excellent opportunity to showcase to other European countries the excellent work NFYFC do. I met many young farmers from other European countries and we were able to share knowledge to help develop CEJA.”
Catherine, who represented Vyrnwy Valley YFC was joined by former Harper Adams Student Union President Chris Manley of Culm Valley YFC and Elli Downing from Silsoe YFC. Together they contributed ideas to the Helsinki Declaration which calls to bring down the average age of European farmers by investing in the next generation.
It also calls for financial support and prioritised access to capital with preferential lending, advisory services for business, marketing, financial and succession support and education and training relevant to the sector.
The CEJA Spring Parliament also held a panel discussion for senior European stakeholders, including Mario Milouchev, Director General for Rural Development Programmes at the European Commission and Finnish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Kari Valonen.
The trip was sponsored by HOPS Labour Solutions and Mole Valley Farmers. The next CEJA seminar will be held in Austria in June and will debate ‘sustainable intensification’, of which Catherine hopes to attend.
During her time at Harper Adams, Catherine has been a student ambassador, a member of the netball team, a former Secretary of the Harper Adams Forum Society and a recipient of the Jerman Scholarship.
Photo caption: Moderator & Secretary General Mr Johan Aberg, CEJA President Matteo Bartolini, CEJA Vice President Alan Jagoe, Catherine, Chris Manley, Elli Downing, Director General Mario Milouchev from the European Commission and Finnish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Kari Valonen.