19 October 2001

Encourage the young

After a lifetime goal of wishing to pursue a farming career, I wish to express how demoralised and dispassionate I have become with the industry.

As a 26-year-old who went through university with the clear aim to succeed in farming and continue the best traditions, I cannot say how disappointed I am. I now wish to leave the industry.

We have a government that has largely ignored the importance of producing quality food and of our role as stewards of our countryside. Public support has shrunk as supermarkets have monopolised our food supply leaving our industry dictated to.

But I dont just blame the government or public for the reluctance of some young people to enter the industry. It is no longer an occupation which is desirable to join and a key reason is the failure of farmers to be able to retain young people within their businesses.

I do the job on a salary basis and I work any and every hour that is necessary. In peak periods this results in an hourly wage well below the minimum.

Wishing to move up the ladder, I recently accepted a trainee managers position only to find a lack of support and civilised behaviour from my superiors.

If those for whom we work were more supportive and willing to train us with their expertise and grant us with just rewards then there would be more retention of young people.

I, for one, would rather work at Tescos than remain on the land – I am one of many.

Name and address supplied

Do you think this letter writers view is typical? Or is agriculture still a great industry to go into? Youll have a chance to make your voice heard in next weeks farmers weekly when were launching our Next Generation survey. So, if youre between 16 and 30 please spend a few minutes taking part. You could win a cash prize – and youll be helping farmers weekly gather the information we need to fight on your behalf for a viable future for young people in rural areas.