There is the need to challenge the mindset of farmers. They are into the cyclical processes. The better farmers challenge themselves to improve.
This is partly about consolidation – farmer will see greater and greater consolidation, as better ones swallow up those who don’t change.
Farmer has got to think about longer horizons – like water, there’s more that the industry needs to do save water. But farmers operate on short horizons – and it’s about forcing them to think in the longer term.
Farmers want a secure outlet for their raw material – more than 5 years but 10 to 12, to 15. We hear from another participant, who says they don’t deal with farmers, going instead to the open market.
We hear that the biggest issue is that farmers’ children don’t want to go back and work on the farm. There needs to be the opportunity for people to train at agricultural colleges. These institutions though are falling away. (This is partly about perception.)
Education and sustainability in farming
One suggestion is an apprenticeship scheme but agreement there needs to be new routes for young people to get into farming. This is also about the collapse of technical qualifications – with the change to university education.