Keeping pace with ongoing change

Keeping pace with ongoing change

In the world of agriculture and horticulture, the landscape is constantly evolving. Sarah Koppen, our CPD Manager, looks at how farmers and growers are using CPD to strengthen their businesses even as the industry changes around them. 
Training courses and online learning are just two aspects of CPD. Photograph: John Eveson at Vicky Anderson Training, Northallerton.
Having a commitment to lifelong learning is important to maintaining your CPD plan and staying on top of new developments in the industry.
Training courses and online learning are just two aspects of CPD. Photograph: John Eveson at Vicky Anderson Training, Northallerton.
Having a commitment to lifelong learning is important to maintaining your CPD plan and staying on top of new developments in the industry.
09/05/24

Farmers and growers are continually navigating the challenges and opportunities that come with agriculture and horticulture. It's a career that demands hard work and dedication as well as a thirst for knowledge and improvement.  

Because of this, more farmers and growers are developing a plan for their own Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to help them keep their knowledge and skills up to date. It's a commitment to learning and development that goes beyond initial training or qualifications.  

For farmers and growers, CPD is not a new concept. Whether it's attending farm walks, listening to agricultural podcasts or reading the latest research in the farming press, you're already engaging in CPD activities. The key is to recognise these activities as part of your professional development journey. 

Why does CPD matter?  

Our sector is always evolving, with rapid advancements in technology, changing environmental policies and evolving market demands all impacting on the real work farmers and growers tackle.  

Staying ahead of these changes is crucial for the sustainability and profitability of your farming or growing business. 

CPD helps you: 

  • Stay competent: It ensures your skills and knowledge remain relevant and up to date 
  • Enhance confidence: By continuously learning, you build confidence in your ability to tackle new challenges 
  • Drive innovation: Exposure to new ideas and practices can inspire innovative solutions on your farm 
  • Boost productivity: Learning new techniques and technologies can lead to more efficient and productive farming practices 
  • Earn professional recognition: Demonstrating a commitment to CPD can enhance your credibility within the sector and the wider supply chain 
  • Network and collaborate: CPD events provide opportunities to connect with peers, share insights and forge collaborations that fuel innovation 

There are some key steps you can take in order to make the most of the CPD opportunities available and develop an effective plan for your own development. 

Identify your learning goals 

Start by reflecting on your current practices and identifying areas where you want to improve or learn something new. It could be anything from adopting sustainable farming techniques to mastering the latest in precision agriculture technology or even as simple as improving your health and safety knowledge.  

Learning on the job 

Of course, CPD doesn’t always have to be structured. On-the-job learning is a great way to expand your skills and knowledge while you’re actively working in your role. Most of us are doing CPD every day but don't realise it. 

Consider asking for a mentor or coach where you work as this also adds to your CPD. You could also coach or mentor someone else if your role allows. This is a good way to think through your knowledge and assumptions and discover what others think. 

Find Relevant CPD Activities 

CPD opportunities are abundant and varied. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Farm walks and field days: These provide practical insights into new farming practices and technologies  
  • Workshops and training courses: Look for courses that address specific areas you want to improve in, such as crop management or livestock health. Why not take a look at our Training Map to find local trusted training?  
  • Conferences and seminars: These can be great for networking and learning from experts in the field 
  • Online resources: With TIAH’s online Learning Hub you can find a wide range of training resources relevant to you. Whether you're looking to improve your knowledge in crop management, livestock health, sustainable farming practices or any other area, the Learning Hub has you covered 
  • On-the-job learning: You might encounter challenges that you need to overcome in the moment. That might mean learning a new skill or expanding own knowledge  
  • Reading: Keep up with agricultural journals, magazines and online articles to stay informed about industry trends, research findings and the successes of other farmers and growers 

Apply what you learn 

The real value of CPD lies in applying what you learn to your daily role. After participating in a CPD activity, take some time to reflect on how the new knowledge or skills can be implemented on your farm or in your daily tasks. 

It could be as simple as bringing the team together for regular catch-up meetings to strengthen relationships and improve morale, or it might be more complicated, like bringing your nutrient management planning completely in-house. 

Record your CPD activities   

Recording all your CPD activities is important to show your dedication to growing professionally and meeting industry rules. 

TIAH makes this easy with our Training record tool. Members can quickly record all their CPD activities in one place, proving their professional commitment and compliance with rules.  

Share your knowledge 

CPD is not just about personal growth, it's also about contributing to the wider farming community. Share your learnings with fellow farmers and growers, whether through informal discussions, social media, or by hosting your own farm walk. By sharing, you not only reinforce your own learning but also help others grow. 

Embracing CPD  

CPD is more than a checklist of activities; it's a mindset that values growth, curiosity and resilience. In the dynamic world of farming and growing, embracing CPD is essential for staying relevant, competitive and fulfilled in your profession. CPD is a tool to be leveraged to benefit you and the wider sector.  

As you embark on your CPD journey, remember to keep an open mind, be proactive in seeking learning opportunities and, most importantly, enjoy the growth process. The path of continuous learning is not just about becoming a better farmer or grower; it's about nurturing a thriving, sustainable future for agriculture and horticulture.  

CPD is everywhere and every day is a learning day. 

Find out more about CPD and how TIAH can help you set and meet your own development goals with our guide to CPD

Members can access all our award-winning CPD tools inside our Learning Hub. You can find out more about this and the other benefits of becoming a member, or sign up today to access the Learning Hub and much more.

Finally, you can also find out more about our CPD Manager, Sarah Koppen in her bio.

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