New scheme would match young farmers with opportunities
A MATCH-making service which would link young farmers with opportunities in agriculture could soon be rolled out across the country.
A recent report by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) laid bare the problems young farmers face when attempting to enter the sector.
The Defra-funded study highlighted there is currently no central marketplace for either young farmers to advertise their skills and their business ambitions or for existing farmers and landowners to promote opportunities.
The matching of regional, technical and business support to a central system was also seen as critical to the success of the scheme.
Speaking at the NFU Conference, NFYFC Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee (ARAC) chairman Chris Bateman said the new Farming Opportunity Matching Service would come at a critical time, when the industry and Government’s Future of Farming Review is working to assess the challenges and opportunities for young people working in agriculture.
Mr Bateman said: “Young people who want to break into the industry currently have very limited ways of finding out about the opportunities available - and likewise farmers and landowners have nowhere to find keen young farmers. We must do all we can to encourage new entrants into the sector and this service would help to do that.”
The scheme has been broadly welcomed by the industry, but author of the study, Dr Steve Webster, said it would need the full support of key sector heads to help deliver it.
Dr Webster said: “Whilst it is easier to envisage a Farming Opportunity Matching Service operating in some agricultural sectors than in others, there are numerous cross-overs between the different agricultural sectors that present opportunities for young farmers. Hence all farming sectors should be included within a single Matching Service.”