The Under 40s Fruit Growers’ Conference is a biennial event aimed at the bright young things of the fruit industry. It usually visits a European country and includes opportunities for delegates to see the latest technical developments that are in the pipeline to move the industry forward. This can be anything from new variety trials at nurseries, pest and disease research, cold storage innovations, and more. The trips also involve visits to fruit growers, networking time, technical presentations and discussions to make for a fruitful conference.

The industry has a responsibility to support its young people in a positive way, to show them there is a real career opportunity in fruit growing and that the rewards for ambitious, quality growers are very real. Whether you are running your own business or working for someone else, the under 40s fruit growers conference aims to provide you with great experiences relevant to your career.

The  conferences began in 1967 with the following objectives:

  • be an effective forum for debate and new ideas
  • provide an opportunity to learn more about other sectors of the industry, fresh innovations and the potential of best practice
  • learn about production systems abroad and in context
  • build social and professional networks to help combat isolation issues and enhance career development potential


“Having been a delegate and an organiser for the Under 40s fruit growers conference I can highly recommend it to potential sponsors and delegates alike. I still have good friends and business associates from previous conferences which are invaluable to my current situation and would urge anyone to support it. It is rare to spend time with fellow fruit growers of a similar age outside marketing groups and regional boundaries and the opportunity for sharing experience, knowledge and interests in this forum is rare indeed.”
James Smith, Managing Director, Loddington Farm Ltd. NFU Kent County Chairman

The under 40’s conference is not only a fantastic way to see how other countries farm and use new and different techniques that we can use and apply to our business, but it is also a great way of meeting people and gaining contacts in our industry.
Matt Spanton, Farm Manager, TG Redsell Ltd

“You get to see how growers do things differently and have a chance to explore how different growing systems work. But most importantly, this is where the personal connections are made; where people become friends and forge long-term, sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships that have the potential to see them through their careers.”
James Shillitoe, Fruit adviser at farm advisory service FAST