Sunday 10 December, 2023

Young Farmer Focus - Tom McVeigh: I hope I can help bring more young people into a really exciting and challenging profession

Tom McVeigh, 27, is a mixed arable farmer from Stowmarket in Suffolk, who is also an NFU student and young farming ambassador

clock • 2 min read
Tom McVeigh is an NFU Student and Young Farmer ambassador

Tom McVeigh is an NFU Student and Young Farmer ambassador

Childhood: I grew up on a 182-hectare (450-acre) farm in Suffolk which had about 30 cows. I would work on the farm when school broke for the end of term and I loved it.

I remember moving cattle on hot summer evenings and thinking life was perfect. It was a very quaint and peaceful time.

As a young child, I used to think there was something sacred about farming which was a job passed down from generation to generation.

Despite this, I never thought I would become a farmer in my wildest dreams.

Education: I was more interested in studying farming as a subject, so I went to the University of Reading and studied agricultural economics in 2015.

The course allowed me to learn some key topics, including estate management, diversification, business planning and agricultural law.

During the course, Brexit took place, which was a real game-changer for farmers in the UK.

I feel the course adapted itself in creating solutions to the challenges farmers faced in a post-Brexit world, which has helped me conduct business today.

The course helped stimulate my passion to become a farmer, because I am fascinated with the industry which is at the forefront of technological innovation.

Politics: One of the things which turns people away from the industry is the bureaucracy of politics and legislation that seems to make farmers lives more harder than they need to be.

I understood this plainly with the Government's 2020 white paper bill, which would have removed vital support for farmers had it been passed.

Many farmers are dealing with subsidy withdrawals, the bird flu pandemic and environment challenges today.

Future: One thing which has proved really crucial for farmers is the ability to adapt and plan for the future. This has a big role to play in handling the pressure which comes with farming.

Equally important for farmers is changing the narrative that they are the villains of the environment.

Of course, there is a need to innovate and plan for the future, but farmers have a really important role as guardians of the countryside.

In my opinion, it is really unfair to place blame on them for the environment crisis we face.

This is why I want to help lead the next generation and be a voice that can be heard on their behalf.

Ambassador: I became a student and young farmer ambassador for the NFU this year, which is something I am really passionate about.

I think one of the most pressing issues facing farming is a lack of young people joining the industry.

I hope that in my role I can help change that perception and bring more young people into a really exciting and challenging profession.

2020 John Deere 865M Gator

2020 John Deere 865M Gator


2021 Honda SxS Buggy

2021 Honda SxS Buggy


Longdog GP Quad trailer

Longdog GP Quad trailer


More on Young Farmer Focus

Antony Eavis, 22, is a farmer from Weardale in County Durham

Young Farmer Focus - Antony Eavis: "There is no money in the world which would actually make me want to give up farming"

"British farmers are more than just farmers, they are a lifeline for the country"

clock 24 November 2023 • 3 min read
Sally Griffiths, 21, is a sheep farmer from Presteigne in Radnorshire

Young Farmer Focus - Sally Griffiths: "Life is getting harder every single day for farmers and they need help"

"In order to make farms more sustainable, farmers have faced heightened pressure to diversify or change their practices to attain another income stream"

clock 20 November 2023 • 3 min read
Liz Tree, 25, is a sheep technician at Innovis from Croydon

Young Farmer Focus - Liz Tree: "I would not be where I am today without experiencing farming as a child and I will forever be grateful to those farmers who took the time to teach and mentor me"

Liz Tree, 25, is a farmer from Croydon in South London: "My own experiences of seeing farms at a young age had completely changed the course of my life"

clock 10 November 2023 • 3 min read