A NEW scheme to help young hill farmers develop their skills is being launched by the Farmer Network in the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria, with the help of a grant from the Prince’s Countryside Fund.

The Farmer Network, supported by Prince Charles, has long been keen to preserve the future of farming by focusing help on young farmers and the new Skills Development for Young Hill Farmers project will enable young hill farmers to work on up to two other hill farms to help them gain experience working outside the family environment.

This will help them broaden their skills both improving their ability to run their own farms, and also giving them the opportunity to offer their skills to other farmers on a self employed basis.

As well as arranging work experience, the scheme will include a training bursary worth £1,250 to help the young farmers afford training for both statutory certificates such as ATV and tractor driving and also courses designed to help them improve their hill farming skills such as walling and sheep dog handling.

The scheme will start this summer and aims to help 12 young hill farmers in the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria.

Will Rawling, chairman of the Farmer Network, said: “We are always keen to find ways of developing the skills of young farmers and helping them find additional income by offering their skills to other farmers in their area.

“This scheme compliments the £200 vouchers we offer our members for training and shows the importance local farmers place on supporting young farmers in the industry. We would like to hear from young farmers interested in being part of the project and from hill farmers interested in providing work for one or two days a week.”

More details and an application form are available from the Farmer Network office and the deadline for applications is May 30, 2014. For more details, please contact the Farmer Network office on 01768 868615 or E mail: info@thefarmernetwork.co.uk