Quality of life draws young farmers
Published 02/12/2015 | 02:30
Young farmers are choosing a career in agriculture because of the quality of life, the security of being their own boss, and the prospect of generating a good income, according to a survey carried out by Broadmore research in conjunction with Ulster Bank.
The findings were collated from a series of Embracing Change seminars, at which successful farmers and Teagasc experts looked at the main challenges facing young people looking to carve out careers for themselves inside the farm gate.
Speaking after the event, Ulster Bank's head of agri, Ailish Byrne, said that there was a decidedly upbeat mood among attendees.
"The good weather of 2015 appears to have softened the impact of falling prices, so that the returns for the year weren't as bad as expected.
"Most young people are focused on improved efficiencies, with a big focus on knowledge. However, there was possibly a reluctance to embrace change to the full degree to allow this to happen in every case," she noted.
In addition, the issue of inter-generational transfer emerged as a key one, and the importance of good communication skills to allow this to happen smoothly.
"There was a general feeling that farmers are not great communicators, which can come against them when they are trying to navigate the pitfalls of the sensitive subject of farm transfer," said Ms Byrne.
"It's probably only as farmers get older and have their own kids that they begin to realise that their parents always had their best interests at heart, even if it doesn't always sound like that.
"Avoiding making little of either's point of view was stressed by those who had been there, done that," she concluded.