Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

'Why farmers must stop whingeing about being underpaid'

Matt Baker (left) and Adam Henson (Joe Giddens/PA)
Matt Baker (left) and Adam Henson (Joe Giddens/PA)
Adam Henson. Pic: Matt Steele/McCauley Multimedia.

Rozina Sabur

Adam Henson, a presenter on the BBC programme, said farmers should instead celebrate their lives to encourage younger people to get into the profession. 

Farmers need to stop "whingeing" about being underpaid because they are putting off younger generations from following in their steps, a Countryfile presenter has said.

Adam Henson, a presenter on the BBC programme, said farmers should instead celebrate their lives saying they had an "incredible environment to work in" which should be promoted.

"Farmers are really bad at getting the message across," he said.

"We’ve got better over the years, we’ve become more professional I think…but we’re very good at being the over-worked, under paid whingeing farmer when actually we should be celebrating our lives because when I wake up in the morning I genuinely want to go to work.

"It’s not all easy but we have an incredible environment to work in and if we celebrate success and are proud of what we do then we will attract the next generation into farming.

"The average age of farmers is now I believe 59, we’ve got to have that next generation who are really sharp into farming".

Speaking at the Hay Festival, Mr Henson added that the range of opportunities available in the industry had broadened in the past few decades.

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"If you took any child and asked them what they were interested in you could drop them into that food supply somewhere, whether it’s nano engineering or marketing or agricultural banking, milking cows, whatever it may be, there’s something for everybody in there," he said.

He added: "As farmers we can not only produce food, we're incentivised to look after the environment and 55 per cent of farmers have got a second job now.

"But with agriculture you need to be business-minded and it is hard work, but you also need to be innovative and quite technological.

"If you’re not all of those things you can surround yourself with people who are and that’s quite key for the sustainability of farming."

Mr Henson himself runs the conservationist Cotswold Farm Park, which was set up by his father Joe in 1971 to protect rare breeds of farm animal. 

He also called on the audience to "pay the right price for food", saying "the only way we can do that is trying to support British farming by buying British farming wherever we can".

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