Farming career opportunities highlighted in digital debate

Mike Wilkins

Photograph: Former NFU Student & Young Farmer Ambassador Mike Wilkins

Farming presents a wide range of exciting opportunities for people from all backgrounds, a debate about the future of the industry heard.

A discussion on the Farming With Pride podcast explored how open farming is to diversity and inclusion.

Host Tony Smith asked NFU County Adviser for Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire Emily Brown, and former NFU Student and Young Farmer Ambassador Mike Wilkins, questions about their experiences in farming.

They were also asked to give their thoughts about opportunities the industry presents for people from wide-ranging backgrounds, as many young people start to think about their futures during this week’s National Apprenticeships Week.

Positive strides 

Emily, who also works on her family’s mixed farm on the Bedfordshire/ Buckinghamshire border, said positive strides have been made: “We welcome anyone who wants to get involved and farming is such a diverse industry.

“There are so many different jobs, whether that’s in technology or accountancy or doing the physical farming itself, there are so many career paths that aren’t talked about enough.”

Mike, who manages a mixed farm estate in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, said: “The current direction of travel in agriculture is so exciting.

“We are positioned better than any other industry to really be at the forefront of the climate emergency action that’s happening, in terms of reducing carbon emissions with things like sequestering carbon.

“We are better placed than anyone else to have a net benefit impact and to help other industries in offsetting what they are doing.


It’s about grabbing hold of them when they are younger and saying this is a fantastic and welcoming industry that you can be a part of.”

NFU County Adviser Emily Brown

“To achieve these things, we need a younger generation of people coming through who have a massive passion for this.

“We need to draw in people from all different backgrounds that might not have any links to farming whatsoever and we need to show them how exciting and how progressive agriculture is as an industry.

One way of achieving this, Mike said, is “by being diverse and by being open an accepting in the industry, both of people and their backgrounds and more broadly in terms of thought of what we’re doing and how we do it”.

The discussion also heard praise for charities such as YANA (You Are Not Alone) and the FCN (Farming Community Network) in their work to tackle rural isolation, along with RABI (Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution).

The NFU’s Farmers for Schools initiative was also highlighted as great example of work to promote diversity in farming.

Emily added: “I go out into schools and talk about British farming and some of the ideas the young children have got are amazing, so it’s about trying to encourage that.

“It’s about grabbing hold of them when they are younger and saying this is a fantastic and welcoming industry that you can be a part of.”

Listen to the Farming With Pride podcast on

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