Dairy Event 2009: Students committed to dairy sector career

Younger farmers remain dedicated to making a living in the dairy sector despite the impact of milk price cuts on profitability.

Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers chairman Lyndon Edwards told a press briefing at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show that research showed 60% of agricultural students were interested in a career within the dairy sector.

And, he added, that 80% of these were committed to a career at the practical end of the industry, milking cows.

As well as quizzing students, the research carried out by the RABDF, asked farm owners and managers for their opinion on succession.

Their view conflicted with the opinion of the students.

“More than 60% of farmers surveyed did not know anyone under 25 years old looking for a job in dairy farming while 64% indicated they would be interested in taking on a student placement,” said Mr Edwards.

“That suggests there is a need for a marriage bureau to bring the two together,” Mr Edwards said.

Surprisingly, for those students determined to enter the dairy sector, lifestyle was the main attraction of the dairy sector, he explained.

“Working with livestock came top at 97%, working outdoors 82% and way of life 63%.

“But high investment costs, farm availability and lack of entry opportunities were among the biggest challenges to students from a non-dairying background.

“When asked about the biggest turn offs to dairy farming, it was no surprise they quoted long hours and the perception of poor wages,” he added.