New entrants debate needed

THE GOVERNMENT‘S adviser on farming issues has indicated he hopes to launch a package of measures to help new entrants.

But he first wants to discuss the issue more widely with farmers.

Donald Curry is urging farmers planning to visit the Royal Show (Jul 4-7) to attend a seminar on ways to help new entrants get into farming. Other seminars on key issues are also planned.

“Every farmer meeting I go to, I hear farmers saying it is a disaster that young people are not coming into the industry,” said Sir Donald.

“I will be laying out the issues, as I see them, during a panel discussion at the show. All of these things I want to debate with a view to launching a package of measures at Smithfield Show in December.”

Sir Donald said the percentage of farmers who have no intention of retiring, or no plans for succession, had gone up significantly in the last 10 years.

“I think the issue is very important for the future of the industry,” he said.

“The figures here do look worse than in most member states.”

If new measures are introduced to help new entrants, they are unlikely to include discounted loans, as happens in other EU member states.

What is more likely is advice and guidance, a matching service which could pair farmers who want to retire with young people who want to get into farming, and mentoring arrangements.

Sir Donald told FARMERS WEEKLY the seminars would take place in Hall 2 which is next to the food pavillion.

The whole hall will be devoted to displays and information about the government’s strategy for farming and food.

“There is a need for farmers to engage in this strategy of ours and to make sure that they are fully aware of what is going on,” he said.

“I am keen to raise the profile and make sure that all demonstrations are well-attended.”

Sir Donald will speak at four seminars during the show.

New entrants and retirement will be on the agenda at 11.00am on Tuesday (Jul 6).

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