AGED IN his early twenties, Nick Grayson was cast to the forefront of his family’s farming business and has been learning how to lead the way forward since.
Here he explains his journey and offers some encouragement to other young people who may find themselves in a similar position.
I FARM at Nether Haugh, on the Fitzwilliam Wentworth Estate, located on the outskirts of Rotherham.
I am the fourth generation of my family to farm this land and, having lost my father Richard two years ago, I now have my own tenancy of the 200-acre farm at the age of 25.
After four years at university, in Aberystwyth, Wales, I returned home to work alongside my dad in May 2011. The farm is primarily arable, growing wheat, barley and linseed, with a small herd of Aberdeen Angus suckler cows, introduced by me in 2007.
In the run up to Christmas we supply farm fresh oven ready turkeys in the local area.
Fresh faced and brimming with new ideas and enthusiasm as I left university, I spent 18 months trying to convince ‘him in charge’ that I knew exactly what to do and which way to do it; there were many heated discussions along the way! Within a matter of weeks however, my whole world turned upside down when my father was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer in Spring 2013 and he passed away shortly after.
It had always been my ambition to take over Nether Haugh Farm, but this was far sooner than I had ever expected. I was well and truly thrown in at the deep end, and left with the responsibility of running the farm single-handedly.
Over the first few months I did things on autopilot and spent a lot of my time thinking: “What would dad do or say?” But the months passed and, as a family, we began to come to terms with things and I started to make those important business decisions for myself.
Two years on, if I were to offer any words of wisdom to someone in a similar situation to myself, it would be to persevere when things don’t go according to plan, grit your teeth and keep trying to move forward.
Be prepared for some very testing times and don’t be too afraid to ask others for help and advice.
Immerse yourself within the local farming community, and seek help and advice wherever you may find it, including groups like Future Farmers of Yorkshire.
I recently finished a year-long scholarship run by the Tesco Future Farmers Foundation where I gained business acumen and management knowledge - I would recommend this kind of training to anyone.
We farmers can all too soon become consumed by negativity. We get a run of bad weather, a machinery breakdown on a Sunday evening and even flicking open the popular farming press can fill us with doom and gloom. This can soon turn us into the stereotypical pessimist we so often encounter in the agricultural world.
I now try to focus on what is working rather than what isn’t, take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Things are never that bad. Optimism is key.
Nick Grayson is a member of the Future Farmers of Yorkshire group and can be found tweeting @agrinick