Debating the future of farming from a younger perspective

Next generation of farmers to discuss industry challenges in a live debate as part of Borderway Agri Expo’s seminar programme.

Harrison & Hetherington, organiser of Borderway Agri Expo, has today announced that a series of seminars will return for the second year, following their inaugural success at last year’s event. The second seminar on the day will be a ‘live debate’ exploring the common themes and challenges faced by our next generation within the agricultural industry today.

Chaired by Sue Howorth and Dave Clarkson, Co-Directors of The Family Business Community, the debate will take place at the event on Friday 28th October at 12:30pm in the Seminar Ring, hosted by H&H Land & Estates. The panel will feature individuals from the Farmstock Futures programme, which was launched by the H&H Group and the Family Business Community to give the next generation a voice and platform to network and gain industry knowledge from several sectors of the agricultural industry, not just farming.

Commenting ahead of the seminar, Sue Howorth said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring together young people who are all paving a career for themselves within the industry. With so much uncertainty, it will be interesting to hear their views on the challenges the next generation face and how we can pull together to tackle these.”

Of the seminar speakers, first up is Alex Nutter who grew up on her family’s farm in Higham, Lancashire, where they have a herd of suckler cows, pedigree Limousins, and a flock of commercial sheep. Growing up, Alex was actively involved in all aspects of the family farm, including the meat wholesale business which is where her passion for the agricultural and meat industry was ignited.

Following a ten-year stint with Dunbia, where Alex held roles within the livestock and transport departments, she made the move to Morrisons. Here, she began managing the livestock administration team based in Colne, progressing to trainee livestock buyer where she is responsible for Morrisons’ Dairy Beef Scheme alongside buying beef and lamb. Alex is also a member of the Meat Business Women network.

Next is Georgia Hunter who, alongside her parents, runs a dairy goat farm in Ravenstonedale, Cumbria. Georgia has a lifelong passion for agriculture and has always been intrigued by welcoming new and different ways into the industry.

At 18 years old, Georgia launched her own business selling meat with the help of the Princes Trust and Farmer Network. A graduate of Newton Rigg College, she returned to the family farm with visions of diversifying in order to drive the business forward and protect it from crucial payment cuts.

Thirdly, Chris Forster aged 32, who farms AJ Forster Limited near Greengill Foot, Bowscar, not far from Penrith, a noted broiler poultry enterprise. One of the most recent members of the Farmstock Futures programme, Chris has recently been awarded Farmer of the Year at the Cumbria Farm Business Awards.

Today, AJ Forster, set up by Chris’s parents and grandparents in 1986, is one of the largest broiler producers in the UK, with 650,000 chickens. In looking ahead to the future Chris is uncertain of where the overall costs of production are going, but their business is continually looking to the future and recent developments have included the installation of effective renewables in the form of Biomass heating and electric, and solar panels.

Lastly but not least is Richard Bostock, a Key Account Manager for Genus ABS, who supports farmers maximise profit from genetic progress. Passionate about the future of the dairy industry, Richard is always looking at how we can make agriculture in general the people magnet it needs to be in order for it to remain viable.

From a Dairy farming background Richard owns some pedigree cattle under the BlackLabel Holstein prefix and Littlestar Jersey prefix both in the UK and also in Switzerland with his partners.

On announcing details of this live debate, Richard Rankin, CEO for the H&H Group, said: “Farming is changing, and the future is uncertain. This puts a lot of pressure onto the next generation as they look at how they can meet the challenges of a volatile landscape and maintain sustainability within the industry.

“I am looking forward to hearing what our panel of fantastic young people have to say and hear their thoughts on the future of the Agri industry. I am certain it will bring about an interesting debate and encourage people to think about the direction they take their businesses in going forward.”

Borderway Agri Expo is one of the UK’s largest events dedicated to the beef and sheep industries. Taking place at Borderway Mart, Carlisle, on Friday 28th October, the event has a fantastic programme as well as livestock classes and a plethora of trade and breed society stands.

News piece published on: http://www.farmstockfutures.uk/media-section/debating-the-future-of-farming-from-a-younger-perspective/

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