Adaptability in the face of change
We are entering a possibly fast-paced restructuring of our industry. Winning farmers will be those that understand their businesses and are good at distinguishing opportunities from distractions. We must be primed to act and ready to adapt.
Joined by speakers Minette Batters (NFU President), Hannah Jackson (Red Shepherdess) and Charlie Parker (JSR Farms arable director) about how to make your business adaptable for the future, Chair of the meeting Freddie Watson reports:
Chairing the Future Farmers Great Yorkshire Show breakfast meeting was an honour, but equally daunting, given the calibre of the speakers.
What struck me was that the different issues facing farmers depend on that particular farmer’s perspective. However, the advice from the panel was consistent in that the individuals in the room were accountable for their own success. This means that it is their responsibility to get informed on the policy that will affect them as individuals. They are responsible for understanding and interpreting the information and turning it to their advantage.
Charlie Parker kept referring back to having a well thought out strategy and not be too distracted by the ‘shiny objects’. Instead, make sure you have a relevant up to date plan. One thing that was consistent between all three was their passive income. Hannah ran courses, Charlie had wind turbines and Minette had a wedding venue which I thought was interesting. It struck me that whilst they are all farmers at heart they have all found something to spread their risk and generate income from. A source that is outside agriculture and thus might not be influenced by the same factors.
NFU President Minette Batters
One thing I was glad to hear come up was the issue of mental health, Hannah said that she made time for herself. That is what enabled her to do her job well and that there is no shame in giving yourself time to get you headspace right. There is no honour in working yourself to the bone for the sake of working hard.
The last take away from me was what Minette said about the UK is a very prized agricultural industry. We need to develop the ability to speak to our customers and tell them who we are and what we do, warts and all. She also said that farmers have been accused of having a large carbon footprint. However, we can make this into a positive and show people what we are doing to make the change and open up a line of positive communication.
Written by Freddie Watson
Chair of the Future Farmers Breakfast Meeting at the Great Yorkshire Show 2019