Don’t hold young people back, say father and son

Older farmers in the industry need to encourage young farming entrepreneurs to develop successful businesses, or risk stifling the new talent waiting to come forward, according to speakers at The Future’s in Your Hands event.

Young farmers aged 25-25 gathered at the Royal Agricultural College last week (1 May) to hear from successful individuals and exlpore the importance of fostering entrepreneurship in farming.

“I have no limits to what I can do with my business. Nothing annoys me more than the older generation complaining when there are lots of young people who want to take over and exercise their ideas,” said speaker George Fell. 

The younger son of the Fell farming dynasty, George runs a sheep flock of 600 pure breed Meatlinc ewes for terminal sire production, a business he has started and developed for himself.

His father Stephen echoed his views. “Young people have got to feel their ideas and views are being heard,” he said. His family business grows 600 acres of turf for the landscape and sports market in Thorganby, Yorkshire. “We’ve tried to give the third generation of our family a chance to use the farm’s assets to build successful businesses.”

Farming needed to develop the concept of “mentoring” younger, entrepreneurial farmers, said John Moverly, chief executive of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. “We need young people to communicate with the industry. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that you never stop learning and you need to be challenged. We’ve not paid enough attention to this concept in our industry.”

More stories and pictures from the Future’s in Your Hands Event