2 min read

Would you encourage others into farming?

Would you encourage others into farming?
The next generation of farmers - where are they going to come from?

This question has puzzled me for some time. With SO much negativity in the farming press and online, I thought to myself, would anyone actually encourage others into farming in 2023?

Reports of falling milk prices, mental health issues and lack of profitability paint a pretty bleak picture for the future of the industry. This article in the Farmers Weekly made me both sad and angry in equal measures:

Sad because it's true and angry because it (should be) so bloody obvious. You know there are serious issues within the industry when a leading publication runs with a headline like this.

The Next Generation

I believe that a lot of young people would like to farm but either can't get into the industry (lack of availability to land etc.) or know their options.

Particularly now, with the adoption of technology, traditional routes of employment or taking over the farm aren't the only option. And the younger generation know this. Would you rather sweat and toil for minimum wage on the home farm or earn £60k+ selling phone cases on Facebook marketplace or eBay?

Even those who are in the very fortunate position of inheriting a farm or land are having to consider their option more carefully. Particularly with the changes in subsidies, the olds way of farming are no longer an option for many.

Business or Lifestyle?

I personally would encourage others into farming but with the following caveat:

It needs to be treated as a business first and foremost.

There needs to be a clear path to profitability WITHOUT subsidies and more than one income stream to diversify. A clear, solid business plan with the numbers stress tested can go a long way in achieving this.

If you're planning on getting into farming for the lifestyle then don't. Just don't. The adrenaline rush of driving big machinery or swanning around looking at pretty lambs will soon wear off when you can't meet your overdraught payments!

What do others say?

I asked the question on TikTok this week and with over 800 votes cast, 64% said they would encourage others into the industry - which is a relief.

Farming IS a great industry with so many opportunities there for the taking. Yes, there are challenges and headwinds but with a strong business mindset and some entrepreneurial spirit,  it can be a hugely rewarding career.

Rather than 'should' we NEED to encourage new entrants into the industry. Otherwise we're all doomed.

Until next week.....