Young tweeters win meeting with farm minister

Five young people have won a meeting with farm minister David Heath simply by sending a tweet.

Stephen Jones, Emily Scott, Becca Watkins, Alex Stevens and Philippe Steadman have all been invited to Westminster to talk one on one with Mr Heath about how to get more young people working in food and farming.

They got the opportunity after entering DEFRA’s #meetfm competition.

Young people across the country were invited to tweet DEFRA (@Defragovuk) with what they believe are the key barriers to their future in farming, using the hashtag #meetfm.

“Meeting the winners will be very interesting,” said minister David Heath. “All five not only identified a key barrier to a future in farming, but also put forward some really positive ideas on how to improve the farming industry for the next generation.

“I want to see more young people getting into food and farming careers. With a rise in global population, Britain has a massive opportunity to grow and export more food and, crucially, produce this food sustainably. Farming and other industries such as engineering and science offer so many exciting opportunities. It’s important we listen to the views and ideas of our future farmers so we can make the industry attractive to our most talented and entrepreneurial young people.”

The date of the meeting will be announced shortly.


@SPTJ1: “No grant schemes for new entrants exist. Have a competition each year, with business plan and interview to obtain funding”

Stephen Jones is a crop science PHD student, working on passive disease resistance in wheat to fusarium head blight.

@ehwscott: “Govt-backed financing scheme with advice and matching service to help access for young people from non-farming backgrounds”

Emily Scott is an ex-lawyer and current environmental policy student. Supporter and campaigner for British agriculture.

@becca_watkins1: “Key barrier is poor communication; future farmers must be innovative with science and engage with a more discerning public”

Becca Watkins is a farmer’s daughter currently studying biology at Oxford University.

@alexpstevens: “Thinking that you have to be a landowner! Farm manager, head shepherd, arable manager, herdsperson all ace careers”

Alex Stevens is a young farmer from Devon (NFU member).

@phillsteadman: “A scheme like #IndustrialCadets would give people a foot on the ag job ladder and would help people to save our sector!”

Phillippe Steadman is a student at the Royal Agricultural College.

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