Calls for ‘matching service’ for future farmers

Farming needs a matching service to link skilled young people with relevant opportunities, according to the results of a new study.

The report, carried out by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC), highlighted that there is currently no central marketplace for young farmers to advertise their skills and business ambitions, or for existing farmers and landowners to promote opportunities.

Farmers, young farmers, farming organisations and members of allied industries were all interviewed for the study, which was funded by DEFRA.

Initial findings show a matching service would require industry, trade organisations, farmers and landowners to work together, as well as business development advisers. The matching of regional, technical and business support to a central system was also seen as critical.

One of the key questions that arose from the study was whether the culture of farming could be changed to adopt a “matchmaking” scheme.

NFYFC Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee (ARAC) chairman Chris Bateman said: “At a time when the government is carrying out a review about the future of farming, it is clear that a farming opportunity matching service needs to be considered.

“Young people who want to break into the industry currently have very limited ways of finding out about the opportunities available – and likewise farmers and landowners have nowhere to find keen young farmers.

“We must do all we can to encourage new entrants to the sector and this service would help to do that.”

The NFYFC is calling on key industry membership organisations to make the matching service happen and has applied for more funding to continue the research into how such a service could be implemented.

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