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Farmers for the Future - Breaking Down Barriers

19 July 2012, at 8:57am

UK - A drive to get more fresh talent into agriculture has been unveiled by Farming Minister Jim Paice. The Future of Farming Group will look at how to break down barriers currently preventing more talented, entrepreneurial young people from making careers in farming.

Fewer young people are going into agriculture, while other related industries such as manufacturing are struggling to fill high-skilled posts in engineering and science.

Unveiling the initiative at a National Federation of Young Farmers event at Leeds Castle in Kent today, Jim Paice said: “The future of farming is important - and it needs to be addressed right across the sector. As the Green Food Project has demonstrated, this industry offers an exciting and important career if we are to continue to feed ourselves sustainably.

“A career in farming isn’t only an option to people who come from farming families. British farming is highly skilled and if it is to maintain its high standards, we need to ensure that everyone who wants to go into the industry has the right skills, knowledge, and support to take on this challenge.”

The Future of Farming Group will be chaired by David Fursdon, current chair of the South West Rural and Farming Network and former President of the Country Land and Business Association. David Fursdon said: “The challenge of producing more food in this country in a sustainable, profitable and affordable way is huge. The farming industry will need all its skill and expertise to do so.

“Undoubtedly this will mean attracting new blood into agriculture as skilled workers, managers, tenants and owners, and adopting the best methods and business structures. This group will build on the excellent work which is already being carried out within the farming industry and also stimulate some news ideas as well.”

The recently-published Green Food Project identified that if the UK is to have a successful, innovative and ambitious farming sector going forward, it needs to ensure that there are suitable numbers of people of the right calibre entering the food industry. This includes entrants from disciplines such as science, research, technology, advisory services and business management.