Along with 150 other UK food and farming charities, TMAF belongs to an umbrella charity. Graham Jellis, the Chair of AgriFood Charities Partnership explains the ongoing role of charities providing much-needed support to education and agricultural research.
“Agricultural charities, such as The Morley Agricultural Foundation (TMAF), do an excellent job. Each year they support skills, education and science to ensure British farming and food can meet the many challenges of today and tomorrow. Each farming or food-related charity has its own set of unique objectives but in belonging to the Agrifood Charities Partnership (AFCP) they are united in one common goal: supporting a thriving and resilient British industry.
AFCP makes connections
AFCP aims to increase the impact which individual charities can make by enabling them to work together. AFCP membership is open to partners, such as universities and agricultural colleges, as well as to charities, to strengthen ties between the funders and the education providers.
AFCP provides information on each charity and education-provider enabling, for example, those seeking funding to have direct links to charity websites. Only recently I heard of an MSc course which has benefited greatly from this facility, enabling course providers to point students to possible sources of funding.
In the past few years, as charities have got to know each other better through regional meetings, joint projects have been established through links with the AHDB. A project on soil health and cover crops is being funded by five charities in the eastern region (including TMAF) at NIAB and Cambridge University. A second project, on Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle control, is about to commence at Harper Adams University – again with support from TMAF. Similarly, charities funding work on dairy cattle are collaborating in a project on calf health.
Investing in young scientists
Many of the charities in AFCP fund post-graduate studentships. With support from AFCP and from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), PhD student George Crane is well in to his research “Fostering Populations of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi through Cover Crop choices and Soil Management”
Biennial forums provide the opportunity for these students to get together and discuss their work, at the same time raising the profile of charitable investment. This year, nearly 30 students funded by charities met at Reading University (one of our partners) to present posters and short papers on a whole range of agricultural subjects.
AFCP National Forums
AFCP has been running National Forums for many years, most have been related to education in farming and food. This year the forum, entitled ‘Education – the essential farming and food chain input’ is being held at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, in partnership with one of our members, the East of England Agricultural Society. Do come and join us!”