Rewards and prospects are fine for agri-food graduates

23 July 1999

Rewards and prospects are fine for agri-food graduates

STARTING salaries for agri-food graduates compare well with other industries, reveals latest research from Andersons Chamberlain.

It shows pay packets for such graduates averaging between £12,000 and £16,000 over the past three years, compared with the national average of £15,750.

The top 10% of agri-food graduates can expect more than £20,000, with nearly half of those surveyed given a company car.

More than half also benefit from a company pension scheme, according to the survey.

"There are excellent career prospects in the agri-food industry for well qualified, motivated graduates," says Nick Gauntlett of Andersons Chamberlain.

But competition remains fierce for good jobs in agriculture and the ancillary industries, says Jim Powell of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.

Fewer people are now looking to come into the business, however, in the face of the depression, says Mr Powell. "Farmers are now saying to their children: No, this is not the right industry for you.

"But while farmings not the most glamorous job in the world – and it can be depressing at times – youll love it," says Mr Powell. "How many other jobs do you hear of where the people come home in the evening and look forward to going back to work the next day?"

Whatever you do, do something you enjoy, says organic farmer Helen Browning.

"If you spend half your life working, you have to get something out of it on a personal as well as a financial level," she told sixth-formers at last weeks two-day Careers in the Countryside conference at Harper Adams.

"Chasing high salaries is a mugs game if it will not give you what you want. Personal satisfaction is absolutely key."

While farming-related jobs are a good "launch-pad" into other sectors, there are plenty of other options, too, says Ms Browning. "You have to ask yourself whether this is what you really want to do. Farming is not necessarily in your blood even if you are born into it."

A Farmers Boy

I want to be a farmers boy

And work upon the land.

To drive Dads tractor all day long,

I think that would be grand.

To milk the cows and feed the calves

And work from dawn till dusk,

A farmers boy is what Ill be

To earn an honest crust.

But farming days are changing

And this can not be right,

That Dad the farmer works all day,

And at Tescos through the night!

He says that times are harder now

And farm produce is worth less,

So, perhaps Ill be a footballer

And wear Man United on my vest!

They want our way of life to change

But surely they can see,

There will not be a countryside

If farmers cease to be!

So when youre in the market place

And the choice of food is there,

Buy British – its the best you know,

And show farming folk you care

Id rather be a farmers boy

And work upon the land

So please back British farming

and lend us a helping hand.

Caroline Vaughan

(Written after a conversation with her nine-year-old son.)

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