A few things lately have reminded me of the phrase “live everyday like it is your last” and for me that is waking up everyday to fulfil my legacy for youth in agriculture.
Today we hosted Nuffield Scholar Joe Delves and after spending this week in workshop with a number of our inspiring Young Farming Champions and Young Eco Champions I wish I had known more about Joe so I could have ensured he joined us earlier to meet and inspire the team.
What a breath of fresh air he is and excitingly just the right age to be a Young Farming Champion ( looking forward to bringing the program to UK Joe so we can extend the network and get the same outcomes in your country)
Joe Delves lifted my spirits today and I thank Nuffield for giving him the opportunity to do just that
As you might have guessed Joe hails from the UK. Here is part of his blurb on the Nuffield site
I am a third generation dairy farmer from East Sussex. We are currently running 210 cows and 160 followers ( replacement stock), …. I have a wife called Becky and two gorgeous daughters, Faith who is three and Evie who is one. Our goal as a family is to demonstrate that dairy farming can be sustainable, profitable and fun!!
My Nuffield project is to “How best to save/promote the dairy industry (UK)”
My main reason for wanting to study this topic, was to see if there was some way of linking up exiting farmers and new entrants in the dairy industry. Hoping that this would help to combat the decreasing number of farmers and the ever increasing average age of the dairy farmer. In between these two issues you have other factors such as subsidies, taxation and a lack of long term business planning. I have spent the past months travelling the UK looking at farms and talking to farmers young and old. There is a clear lack of career path for young people, they also lack those farming hero’s to aspire too. We have lost a lot of our pioneer spirit in the UK which I think is the effect of farmers becoming heavily reliant on subsidy. Through my Nuffield Scholarship i hope to reinvigorate the UK dairy industry.
One of the first things Joe said to me is “In the UK my generation likes to think of ourselves as 1st generation business men”. Joe is not only a wealth of ideas he has put them into practice including innovative ways to give young people a start-up in the industry using corporate investors to buy the land that young farmers cant afford and then finding support for them to fund purchase of cows and infrastructure
On a personal level it was heartbreaking to show Joe the farm today ravaged by extended dry conditions put to the test by our innovative efforts to counter the devastation caused by the milk price wars instigated by Coles. I have never seen our farm look this barren and in fact I took pictures but don’t want to post them
This week Coles came out and said “It not our fault dairy farmers are suffering” Well I say Coles its time you thought about the legacy you wake up everyday to leave for the Australian dairy industry because to me you must have hearts of stone to sleep at night. I can tell you, because I know Australian dairy farmers are being brought to their knees and admit it or not Coles you are part of the reason why.
Come and see my what is left of our beautiful farm, hear our story. We strive to be the best of the best and we are almost broken. How much further you can push us I don’t know, how you justify your marketing practices I don’t know. What I do know you are part of the problem and its time you become part of the solution. Here is a start Coles how about you follow Sainsbury’s lead “Sainsbury’s raise lamb prices for farmers”