…about future of agriculture.

The younger generation that will bring about the big changes in farming is ambitious, willing to take risks and already thinking outside the box.

That was the confident message from 80 young men and women at The Future’s In Your Hands conference, held at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, on 1 May. 

The event was organised by the Red Meat Industry Forum and supported by Farmers Weekly in a bid to kick start a stronger focus on young entrepreneurs nationally.

All of the delegates were starting out or already running businesses. Two striking differences between young and older farmers was the keenness of the former to operate without subsidies and to share their good and bad experiences warts and all.

Farmers Weekly columnist and speaker, Matthew Naylor, who has a expanding flower and potato business, began farming when aged 15 and admitted that he had made lots of mistakes with his own money. “The difference between an entrepreneur and a businessman is all about control,” he said. “Business skills can be taught – it’s a science. Entrepreneurialism is an art, it’s about passion, it’s not about following the rule book. You need, confidence, courage and conviction.”

James Peck, FW’s 2006 Young Farmer of the Year, runs a successful contracting and grain storage business. He explained why his employees benefit from BUPA healthcare, a pension scheme, performance-related bonuses and 30 days holiday a year. Employees are one of your biggest assets. You have to choose the right staff and invest in them,” he said.

And Will Chase, founder of Tyrells Crisps, spoke of his long journey to profitability and urged young farmers to be their own person. Tyrells is looking for young people to join the business which in future may include producing potato vodka as well as crisps. Finding people with character is important. We are always looking for managers who will go the whole nine yards and can see the bigger picture,” he said. “If you have a good idea for a new business, think cash, capital and character. These are the three attributes the banks will be looking for when investing in start up,” he added.

Source: Farmers Weekly Interactive

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