Michael attacks farming leaders

13 July 2001

Michael attacks farming leaders

RURAL Affairs minister, Alun Michael, has attacked the farming industry while telling sixth form students that they hold the future of farming in their hands.

Mr Michael, speaking at the National Sixth Form conference at Harper Adams University College, Shropshire, told a delegation of over 250 students that they needed to bring fresh ideas, enthusiasm and a willingness for change.

He said todays farm business leaders held entrenched views.

Quoting a recent survey, Mr Michael said 60% of farmers were not looking to change their businesses either by challenging the need for diversification or investigating alternative marketing methods.

"That is a frightening statistic. It is a time of change. The message for rural areas is adapt or die," said Mr Michael.

Meanwhile a study of 260 farms covering 48,000ha (120,000 acres) has shown that many young people do not want to follow their parents into farming because of the prospect of poor incomes.

The survey conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants found that 40% of family farms have no succession plan in place. &#42

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