FARMER FOCUS: Time to tackle farming’s image

My membership of the Future of Farming Review group continues to keep me busy as we work towards launching a report in the summer looking at finding ways of attracting entrants into farming. Group members are continuing to meet interested parties from across the country and industry as well as reading submissions from a wide range of interested bodies and in some cases more than 60 pages long.

We had an evidence collecting session in Devon last week with an excellent presentation from the Cornwall agri-food council who spoke about the Fresh Start Pilot as well as hearing from the Duchy of Cornwall Farms and representatives from Cornwall and Devon county councils. There were many positive stories from people making steps to facilitate succession.

The middle of April saw the deadline for submissions to the Department of Education’s new national curriculum, the present one has precious little devoted to farming and food production, let’s hope the new one has more. In our submissions, we have kept hearing the negative perceptions about a career in farming industry from school career providers along the usual lines of low rewards for long hours in dirty conditions. We all know the statistics about how few children have visited farms and know where their food comes from. Open Farm Sunday and the FACE campaign have been wonderful responses from our industry.

First-generation farmer Robert Law farms 1,500ha on the Herts/Cambs/Essex borders growing cereals, sugar beet, forage rape and turnips for seed. The farms are in a number of environment schemes and carry a flock of 2,500 ewes. He also manages 500ha of Nottinghamshire sand land.

More on this topic

Read more from Robert Law

Read more from our Farmer Focus writers