Farmer Focus: Ag graduates are our farming future

Things are moving along in a similar vein to when I last wrote. It remains very wet and little progress has been made.

In fact, it all seems a bit depressing at the moment. My oilseed rape crops generally look very well, although we are keeping a keen eye out for slug activity.

The Maris Otter malting barley has been drilled, but other than that, very little field activity has taken place.

Most of the wheat, feed barley and oat seed remains in the shed. There are also more potatoes still to be lifted than I would like.

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However, we need to remain positive, and one way that happens is through the can-do attitude of our staff members, who will keep working and get the job done as soon as there is a weather opportunity.

We do our best to try to invest in the team so we can all benefit.

This autumn, Lewis, one of our regulars, who started with us as an apprentice five years ago, has headed out to New Zealand, along with my son, William, to spend six months working for a contractor near Invercargill.

Hopefully, they will be able to bring back some new ideas and different experiences when they return to us next spring.

Employment opportunities

Of course, this all seemed like a brilliant idea when it was first floated. At that point, I wasn’t expecting to be spending all winter carrying out the autumn work.

Luckily, I have been able to secure the services of Andy, who has stepped in to help us fill the breach. I think he was probably expecting to be busier than he has been so far!

As a business, we have always tried to offer placement opportunities for students, either for a year or during the main harvest period.

This has brought us some superb individuals, which makes me confident that the future is bright.

We have recently been able to go one step further, and over the past year, have employed three recent agricultural and food industry graduates – two in the vegetable-processing business and one within the farming operation.

So far they are doing a very good job of keeping me on my toes.