Farming future is bright, agree young farmers

A MAJORITY show of hands proved Young Farmers believe there are bigger farming opportunities available to them, compared to 12 months ago.

Entrepreneur John Geldard of Plumgarths posed the question to his 45-strong YFC group in one of three breakout sessions held during the ARAC forum, and was left in no doubt to the answer.

He said farmers were finally gaining new appreciation and momentum on both the political and public agenda.

“You should be excited, you should be really excited,” he told members.

“The next two decades are going to be totally different from the last two gone and opportunities are there for the taking for young people who want them badly enough.”

He cited the fall of production costs coupled with a growing population as the reason why food production will be cast back into the limelight and for that, young people will be in ‘one of the most wanted industries ever.’

“You have come through an unappreciated period, but now you have an important part to play in the future in educating future Governments – they are going to need you desperately.

“Defra will need to listen to you like we have had to listen to Defra,” he added.

With the majority of politicians too young to remember anything about previous world food shortages, the onus now heavily relies on young farmers to pass their understanding and knowledge into Government, he said.

“The worst thing you can do when you finish in the Young Farmers and stop the role you can play within the future of agriculture.”

Encouraging delegates to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations and careers in agriculture, John acknowledged the subsequent pressure, commitment and hassle they faced, but argued the more farmers drive their business, the more successful they become.

Co-leading the discussion was dairy farmer Tom Rawson, who although is in partnership with his dad, is working on various strategies to become increasingly involved in the direction and ownership of the farm.

He encouraged delegates to grab the opportunity to travel and network with other successful farmers when and wherever possible.

“You have to go out of your own area and mix with successful and positive people because anybody else is going to bring you down.

“When you go and visit new places don’t be afraid to take a camera and take pictures of new ideas – you never know when you might invest them into your own business.”

When asked about how to broach becoming more involved within the family farm, he recommended the use of a facilitator to help forge a future business and costings plan.

“The problem with farming is that there is a tremendous amount of pride. Once a quarter my family will meet with a consultant, who knows how to deal with different generations and will provide the necessary mechanisms to dissolve anger, arguments, tear and real emotion.”

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