FARMING’S IMAGE has deteriorated to such an extent that a whole generation is turning its back on it as a potential career, says the Princess Royal.

“The perception still exists that people in farming do it because they can’t find anything else to do,” she told delegates at The Farmers’ Club’s Workforce for 2020 Seminar in London on Wednesday (Nov 24).

The negative image has partly resulted from the media’s treatment of scares such as BSE and foot-and-mouth, she said. “We have produced some quite astonishing misunderstandings.” I

t is also due to the increased detachment of most people from the rural way of life. “Somewhere along the way, the rest of the population has lost touch with what happens in the countryside.”

The whole industry has to work harder to “sell” the range of careers on offer and demonstrate what a vital role farming plays. “There are large numbers of people who still believe that producing food in this country is an optional extra,” she said.

 “We have to convince people that it is technically rewarding as a job, and we have to sell the jobs as real careers to young people.”