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    Effective leadership, management and development of people working in agriculture and agri-food: supporting new entrants from non-agricultural backgrounds


    This research project reviews the experiences of new entrants from non-agricultural backgrounds working in agriculture and agri-food. It reflects on how new entrants to agriculture and agri-food have experienced leadership, management and employee development in their careers to date, and evaluates and establishes approaches which will effectively support sustainable staffing and retention in agriculture and agri-food.


    The research project report considers how to successfully support diversification of employment within the sector, by focusing on leadership, management and people development practices. It reviews the experience of individuals who have pursued an agricultural career from a non-agricultural background, considering their routes into agriculture or agri-food, and what collective lessons can be learned from their educational and employment journeys so far. The report reflects on their experiences from a people perspective, to establish best practice for staff-related processes, such as recruitment, training and development, and day to day management. Both agriculture and agri-food were considered throughout this project because many of the challenges and barriers discussed affect both the wider agri-food sector, and the smaller agricultural workforce.  

    As well as the main research report, associated teaching resources and case studies were created as part of this project; these can be found in the Project Overview. They are freely available to support learning and teaching activities which will develop the people management and leadership skills of the next generation of agricultural, agri-food and land-based professionals. The teaching resources and case studies are designed to encourage and inspire those from more diverse backgrounds, and also to allow those who come from agricultural backgrounds to gain additional insight into the experiences of others.


    Research and data on the existing agricultural and agri-food workforce and best practice in leadership, management and employee development was reviewed, and used to inform the research design. A survey was completed to collect data from a broad group of individuals from non-agricultural backgrounds, who either currently worked, have worked, or intended to work, in agriculture and agri-food. The survey data was assessed for statistically significant outcomes. A series of ten detailed individual interviews were completed to add depth and capture individual journeys and perspectives of new entrants from diverse non-agricultural backgrounds.

    This work was funded by an Agricultural Educator Award from The Farmers Club Charitable Trust.

    Funding Body

    The Farmers Club Charitable Trust

    Lead Organisation

    Harper Adams University


    Click the file name to download the project file:

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