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Young Farmers debate future

Young Farmers debate future

A packed Spanish Hall engaged in a lively debate to discuss how Young Farmers can build a future in the industry.

Members put questions to a panel of experts comprised of Jan Godsell, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy at WMG, University of Warwick, CEJA President Alan Jagoe, and Matthew Naylor, Managing Director of Naylor Flowers Ltd, with AGRI Forum Chair Sam Dilcock hosting.

While the future of the industry is uncertain and access to land is difficult to come by, panellists said that there are opportunities for young farmers to build a successful business.

Matthew, a former Young Farmer of the Year, said: “The key is your skills as an individual and making sure that you have knowledge that is valuable. And you need to understand people. You get business by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and understanding what they want.” He added that understanding people was equally important to building business partnerships. “Very few people are motivated by money alone,” he said. “Find out what they need and build partnerships that way.”

Jan said: “You’ve got to look for opportunities and be creative about how you build partnerships,” adding that if, for example, you have the skills and the knowledge, you could go into partnership with someone who has land available.

Alan, who is also a dairy and arable farmer from Carrigaline in Ireland, said that the key to success is access to land and access to funds. “You don’t need have to inherit a family farm to get into farming,” he said. “Have a business plan and talk to your bank – and make sure you have a proper skill set.”

“Don’t be scared of debt,” added Jan. “All the best businesses are well-geared and your money isn’t doing anything in the bank.”

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