National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

28 February 2011

NFYFC’s agriculture and rural affairs chairwoman Milly Wastie says that, far from being silent, the voice of young farmers isn’t being heard.

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice had called on YFC members to make their voice heard on issues affecting new entrants and the future of the farming industry at a Next Generation breakfast meeting at the NFU Conference.

While highlighting opportunities available to young people in farming, the minister encouraged members of Young Farmers’ Clubs to grasp these chances if they wanted to be success in the industry and urged them to be more proactive about sharing their opinions and suggestions for the future of agriculture.

Mr Paice said: “No one has a right to farm but, with the increasing scale of agriculture, there are massive opportunities for young farmers. The voice of YFC has been quiet for a long time and I would encourage it to speak up more.”

But fellow panellist Milly (pictured) called on the Government to do more to support new entrants, and challenged Defra Secretary of State Caroline Spelman on what measures were being put in place.

Speaking after the conference Milly said: “I felt it was very important to stress the lack of support young people and new entrants are receiving when trying to enter the industry. This is why I challenged Caroline Spelman. I believe a scheme similar to the Welsh assembly young entrants supports scheme (YESS) would be a practical measure to ensure our members have a stepping stone into the farming industry.

“Reflecting back on the NFU conference I’m not sure whether industry and government are listening to the voice of young farmers. We do have a voice and we are also very grateful for all the wonderful opportunities we get in helping to get our voice heard. However, what we say is being disregarded and not taken on board.”

At the conference itself, Gloucestershire YFC county chairman Chris Bateman drew applause from delegates with his call for government and industry help to succeed.

He told the meeting: “I was not born into farming but I have a passion for it. I run a contracting business and work on a dairy farm, but what I heard in the dairy session really worried me.

“Where does the future of farming lie? Where are the people to help us into the industry? You go into business to make a profit but we need 5p a litre more to make that profit. Without that no one will lend to us.”


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