AS A new crop of higher education students settle into their courses, they could be in with a chance of winning a generous bursary.

First-year students are being invited to write an essay on one of three topics or prepare a farm business plan for the Farmers' Union of Wales annual £1,500 higher education bursary.

FUW agricultural education and training committee chairman Alun Edwards said: "We have included a farm management element for applicants to give them an option to showcase their understanding of running a business and to demonstrate their understanding of how a farm business can be managed."

The farm business plan for a farm tenancy should incorporate a statement of funding, a three-year forward budget and supporting cash flow projections.

To apply for the bursary applicants must complete the application form and prepare the business plan or write a 1,000-word essay on one of three subjects: Are we a nation of park keepers or food producers?; outline your interest in a particular topic or project associated with the land based industries; or what do you think are the main barriers facing young people entering the land-based industries today?

The closing date for applications is Friday, November 1st.

The winner of the £1,000 bursary and runner-up, who will receive £500 will be announced at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.

The application form is available from any of the FUWs county office throughout Wales or to download at