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nowhere to farm?

Posted: April 12 2011

An interesting letter to The Telegraph, with some comments following.  Do you have thoughts on this issue?  Write an essay. we'll post it.

Young farmers with nowhere to farm
The reality of farming.

SIR – It is easy to see farming through rose-tinted glasses but, as a member of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, I often hear that children who want to return to their family farms after finishing their education discover either that there isn’t enough work for them or that their parents won’t let them make decisions.
It is encouraging to see that some younger farmers are being encouraged to have a say in the running of farms, and also to look out for new ways to add value (Weekend, March 12).
But there are many who are not as fortunate. There are many new entrants to agriculture for whom owning a farm is only a dream. Tenancies are, more often than not, very hard to secure and highly sought-after, while land prices continue to rise.
Helen M. Reeve
Harleston, Norfolk



04/05/2011 01:28 PM
My Grandfather employed a couple of dozen (including POWs), my father a dozen, me, I was (wisely) kept out of the business to get a career, so sadly had to sell up when he died.
Fate turned full circle and my son decided to go to Agricultural College (of his own choice) and now keeps sheep.

04/05/2011 09:04 AM
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As a former young farmer, a former president of the West Anglia Federation of YFCs and now an old farmer (73 today, as it happens), I sympathise very much with Helen M. Reeve. I do not know what the answer is, for it is factual that there are few people employed on the land these days. My great grandfather employed 50 or so men; my grandfather 30 or so; my father a dozen; and I just a couple before I sold much of my land. What I have observed, though, is that it was often those youngsters from non-farming backgrounds who made the best entrants to farming. They had positively chosen farming and it showed. Short of the national and compulsory creation of vastly more state small holdings (which I would not want and cannot see coming), I see few opportunities for new entrants, other than through narrow specialism or the tried and tested method of matrimony, for which the YFCs are well-known.
red hook, new york


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