Improving the skills and knowledge of farmers and land managers has become a key imperative for government and industry. The Foresight Report on the 'Future of Food and Farming' (UK Government, 2011) identifies the top priority for action as improvement in advisory services to farmers, land managers and food producers for tackling the challenge of food security. Land based businesses also face increasing pressures to deliver a whole range of goods and services from the land. Advisers have therefore become the frontline orchestrators of land management and the agri-food system, critical to marrying commercial objectives with broader demands for the delivery of ecosystem services and sustainable resource use. Alongside this, there has been increasing evidence over recent years of the land-based professions themselves reflecting on skills development issues. At the same time, the Research Councils and other funders are investing in new research initiatives, including programmes under the Living with Environmental Change and Global Food Security programmes. There is a need to link these initiatives effectively to the rural professions.
The landbridge network therefore aims to enhance the knowledge development and inter-professional learning of advisors and encourage new approaches and strategies for knowledge exchange between researchers and land-based professions. It has three key objectives: