Comment: Power in unity at farming networks

YOU HAVE always been able to find me in a pair of muddy wellies.

Paige Dalby, a member of the Future Farmers of Yorkshire group.

Growing up in Warthill, on the outskirts of York, it’s always been easy to ‘muddy’ said wellies as my family owns a horticultural nursery, specialising in bedding flowers.

Originally pig farmers, diversification into the nursery took place around 25 years ago. I’ve always enjoyed helping out at the nursery but didn’t find the work challenging enough to do it full-time, and since leaving school my interest in agriculture has grown.

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I joined McClarrons Ltd, an agricultural insurance brokers based in Malton, 18 months ago because I wanted to get back to my agricultural roots. The insurance market is a highly competitive field but I really enjoy building up a rapport with clients, understanding their businesses and making sure that they are covered if the worst should happen.

Growing up in an agricultural environment has really helped as it allows me to have a fuller understanding of clients’ issues and to find the best way to help them.

Outside of work I help my partner on his farm. I really enjoy working with livestock and this has also helped me to understand the many challenges that farmers face such as the weather, low cereal prices and competition from imports.

I am actively involved in the both Young Farmers and the Future Farmers of Yorkshire group. Both are superb organisations for anyone interested in agriculture and the countryside. I have gained valuable life skills and experiences from being part of these groups and my involvement has opened many doors for me.

The next big Future Farmers event will be a breakfast meeting at the Great Yorkshire Show on Wednesday, July 15. The meeting will be chaired by Future Farmer Rob Sanderson and we will also hear from land agent, and Nuffield Scholar, Davina Filingham, and East Yorkshire farmer Emily Field who attended this year’s Worshipful Company of Farmers Leadership Course.

Our final speaker will be National Farmers’ Union president Meurig Raymond. As well as his national role, Meurig is partner in a 3,400-acre family farm in Pembrokeshire. If you would like to join us, please register your free place by emailing [email protected]

The Young Farmers movement has been an important part of my life from joining the Escrick club aged 16. Since then I have worked my way through various roles and am currently a representative at both county and national level.

I also volunteer for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, the charity that works with farmers and their families in times of difficulty. The North Yorkshire committee holds many events throughout the year from Farmhouse Breakfast Week to golf days and concerts. The money raised at these events goes towards the £150,000 spent annually in North Yorkshire alone.

Networking is hugely beneficial in the world of farming - it is important to get yourself out there. Farmers have really seized the opportunities that come from social media, being able to reach a wider audience and sharing their experiences and knowledge.

Paige Dalby is a member ofFuture Farmers of Yorkshire, a group for younger professionals launched in November 2010 that is supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.