Farmer Focus Arable: School leavers more attracted to farming, says Robert Law

The farms here resemble the tundra. There is very little green evident with both grass and arable fields browned off by the freezing winds and heavy frosts.

However, the old adage “change of month, change of weather” proved right to the very day and it has dried up which, with lambing starting, has been a blessing.

However, the prospect of sufficient grass growth to support the freshly turned-out ewes and lambs looks weeks away and they will be on a daily diet of fodder and sugar beet for the time being.

Before things got too busy on the land and in the lambing shed I was able to attend both the NFU AGM and our own Hertfordshire Farming Conference. There was a positive feel about both events, with an excellent line-up of speakers.

It was encouraging to hear from both representatives of agribusinesses and colleges of a upturn in the number of school leavers applying for agricultural courses and of graduates seeking employment in agriculture and its allied businesses.

One of the best ways that the industry can attract school leavers is to raise its image and how it is perceived. We need to shed the muddy boots syndrome and that we are a bunch of whingers and portray a more positive image of a industry that is going places and can offer a worthwhile career.

The president of the NFU has to be congratulated on how he has raised the profile of farming, even if there are those who claim that he is too positive.

With the first Entry Level Stewardship renewals imminent and the Campaign for the Farmed Environment getting under way it was good to hear from the NFU’s Andrea Graham that indications of farmer participation in both far exceeds the dire predictions of some doubters.

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