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Young farmers 'continuously anxious' about future of farming, NFYFC warns

Young farmers are experiencing 'continued anxiety' around the future of farming, according to a new survey, with the industry calling for more training and support to aid new entrants.

Frustration with regulation and concerns about the prospects are among the key issues impacting the next generation of farmers, NFYFC has said.


Without an injection of new ideas, the young farmers' federation warned that UK farming would "miss out on a generation of talent and enthusiasm".


Finance and access to land continue to top the barriers facing new entrants, with 72% of respondents thinking it will be difficult or impossible to move into farming.


Young farmers want to continue to produce food, but the survey indicates that new entrants can’t access the support required to break into the industry.


When questioned about the new Defra environment schemes, 75% of respondents were either not sure or felt the schemes were not affecting them at all.


Only 10% of respondents felt they had a good understanding of emerging Defra land management schemes.


Respondents identified grants (68%), as the most important aspect of support required for delivering environmental schemes.


This follows business support (55%), encouragement of new entrants (56%) and training (54%) also ranking highly.


Soil health and business management are the two areas, followed by financial management, where respondents feel the greatest need for development.


NFYFC’s agriculture and rural issues manager, Sarah Palmer said young farmers desperately needed additional skills and training.


“Positive action from three years of surveying is welcome to address the concern raised for prospects and opportunities for next generation farmers and land managers.


“A higher percentage of survey respondents felt they were positively rather than negatively affected by the new policy framework and recognised the need for additional skills and training.


“This research, combined with the learning from the recent Defra new entrant pilots for the design of a future scheme, will provide much-needed support for next generation aspirations.”


NFYFC's research was conducted earlier this year and surveyed 511 people, with the average age of respondents being 22 years old.


Of those surveyed, 45% live or work in a farming household and 31% are students.


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