Farmer Focus: Kids shouldn’t be pressured to farm

The countryside is coming to life. Trees are greening up, our Kingfishers are nesting and the first swallows have arrived on the farm. I love this time of year. This weekend we’re having a “discovery” day, where families come to learn about food production and try their hand at wildlife identification. Our own sausages will be cooked on an open fire by the river and washed down with home-made lemonade. Let’s hope the sun will still be shining.

We had a good trade at Brecon market recently with store cattle. The hand-reared heifers have now been positively scanned and will be sold at Brecon’s breeding sale on 24 April. Lambing has finished and groundwork on the farm has begun. The plough has been out and 3ha of oats and 7ha of barley have been planted in a field rotation following the root crops.

See also: Advice for succession planning

It’s encouraging to see how many keen youngsters there are in our industry and local YFC clubs are thriving. However, not all farm kids want to continue the family business and it would be unfair to put pressure on them to do so. Daughter Cel has no interest in agriculture as a career. She’s extremely talented in music and the arts and has just taken her options at school with future plans including university. Son Sam on the other hand, hates school, loves farming and with only a few weeks to go before his GCSEs, it’s been very difficult keeping him focused on schoolwork.

Every time revision was mentioned during the Easter holidays, he disappeared chain harrowing. As a result, our farm is now looking like a golf course and Sam has been offered work on the back of his impressive straight lines, which were spotted from the road. This is on top of various other agricultural jobs he’s already juggling. Maybe I’m worrying unduly as he has a great work ethic and driving ambition. Not all 16-year-olds have that. Like all parents, we just want both kids to be happy with whatever choices they make in life.

Kate Beavan

Kate farms 200ha with her husband Jim on one of two family farms near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. The main enterprises comprise 900 breeding ewes and 50 suckler cows. Meat is sold direct to the family’s traditional butcher’s. Kate and Jim hosted Lambing Live in 2010.