Comment: We need more young people to share their ideas

Amy Watson is a member of the Future Farmers of Yorkshire group.
Amy Watson is a member of the Future Farmers of Yorkshire group.
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Being brought up on my grandparents’ suckler farm, I spent the majority of my childhood marching around in overalls and wellies, or perched on the back of a tractor.

As a child I always loved being involved with anything on the farm, and, I have to say, nothing’s really changed. When I was a little older, my parents set up a smallholding which runs alongside their plant hire business. I was in my element – sheep at home and cows at grandad’s.

While at high school, I always loved the idea of becoming a large animal vet. So, alongside studying for my GCSEs, I tried to fit in some work experience.

The first port-of-call was a dairy farm – milking over 700 pedigree Holsteins on a three times a day housed system – I was not broken in lightly. It’s safe to say that completing work experience at this farm was the best decision I’ve made; after being offered a part-time job, I’m still there almost three years later. This is where my passion for dairying began.

Through work, not only have I had the fortune to be able to learn from numerous professionals in the industry, but I have been able to attend various farm walks, as well as discussion groups run by consultancy companies.

In my college work experience week I had the opportunity to spend the week shadowing farm consultants, which enabled me to develop my knowledge of how both technical and business advice is provided to farmers across the UK.

These experiences have completely opened my eyes to what modern agriculture really is, and the variety of job roles there are within not only the dairy industry, but the whole agricultural sector.

Outside of work and study, I enjoy being a member of my local farmer discussion group – the South Yorkshire Grassland Society (SYGS).

Through this group, not only have I learnt so much about other aspects of agriculture, I was also granted sponsorship from the Yorkshire Agricultural Society to attend the British Grassland Society annual summer tour, held at Harper Adams University.

Here, I embarked on numerous farm walks, learning about different approaches to maximise profit from pasture. A particular point of interest for me personally, was learning about low input dairy systems.

If anyone has the opportunity to attend the BGS annual summer tour I would definitely recommend it.

I was recently selected to represent SYGS at the YAS farmer discussion group networking meeting held at Countryside Live. It was evident that not many new, passionate young people are joining these groups, and I think if that was to happen, not only would new ideas be introduced, but it would lead to more young people being inspired to be involved in the industry.

A Grassland Society meeting was where I learned about the Future Farmers of Yorkshire, which led to me becoming involved with this group also. Recently, I have been made a committee member of the SYGS, and I hope that more young people like me will see the benefits of attending groups like this – to share ideas, as well as meet new people, over a pint.

The next Future Farmers of Yorkshire meeting ‘Big Data & Precision Farming’ is on Tuesday February 13, 6.45pm at Pavilions of Harrogate, HG2 8NZ. To book your free place email sophiegreen@yas.co.uk.