'Farmers need to ditch the 'underpaid whinging image'- BBC star tells Dublin conference

Matt Baker (left) and Adam Henson (Joe Giddens/PA)
Matt Baker (left) and Adam Henson (Joe Giddens/PA)
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Farmers need to shed the image of being overworked and underpaid and become more business minded, BBC broadcaster and farmer Adam Henson told an Alltech conference in Dublin.

Mr Henson, who runs a livestock and arable farm in the Cotswolds in the UK, inherited the business from his father who diversified the farm in the 1970s to incorporate a rare breed farm open to the public.

Adam and his business partner have since expanded the business which now includes camping and leisure facilities.

Adam told the Alltech conference that farmers need to consider diversification and think positively in order to attract the next generation to agriculture.

“There are so many things as agriculturists that we can complain about, but we have to shed that overworked, underpaid, whinging image. We have to think forward, we’ve got to be innovative,” said Mr Henson.

“I was born and brought up in the Cotswolds. I wake up and want to go to work because I love it. Farmers generally love farming and see it as a way of life but as a business. We are very lucky to do what we do and we’re very passionate about it to see it right through to the end and others will pass it on to the next generation.

“It can be hard and tricky but we need to be positive if we want to attract the next generation of farmers. The next generation of farmers need to be entrepreneurial, innovative, hard working, technological and they have to be business minded.”

The farmer who has been presenting the popular Countryfile TV show since 2001 said farmer considering diversification need to figure out what’s important to them and make it their brand.

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“You need to have base standards in what you believe in and try stick to them. Millennials are demanding much more from businesses about ethics and animal welfare,” he added.

“All these things are so much more important but they can become part of your brand and that gives you strength and power and success and a really positive feeling.”

He added that farmers need to combat fake news on how farm animals are kept but need to be sensible in how they do so.

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