- Only 6% of the nominated successors would be new to farming.
This latter finding is perhaps the most telling and one that politicians and farm leaders may need to heed. Whenever there are talks where government ministers or policy makers are present, there always seems to be an emphasis on how to get “new entrants” into farming.
Although it is perfectly possible for college leavers to become farm workers or farm managers, the chances of a person who does not come from a farming background becoming a full time “farmer” in their own right is slim. The survey results bear this out.
It’s not that there is no chance of a new entrant developing a career in agriculture, but actually building up an owner-occupied or even tenanted farming business is very difficult unless an individual has the resources of an existing farming business behind them or access to a lot of capital from outside farming.
Perhaps the emphasis should be more on how to ensure the next generation of successors to existing farming businesses are best trained and equipped to tackle the economic challenges that lie ahead, rather than encouraging new entrants to enter a world where in reality the opportunities in mainstream farming are shrinking rather than expanding.