The road ahead: What next for young farmers globally?

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Young farmers from Argentina, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Scotland and Sweden shared there hopes and dreams for the future of food in a webinar recently.

Increased local sourcing post Covid-19; vulnerabilities of global food supply chains; lack of labour; and young people leaving farming, were just some of the current challenges and opportunities the young people said they faced.

More than 70 people took part in the webinar, ‘The Road Ahead: What next for global young farmers?’ held on July 10.

It was hosted by the Rural Youth Project in partnership with the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ), National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) and Eat Farm Now, featured six young farmers from across the world who came together to discuss and debate ‘what next’ for farming and food post-Covid.

The panel, was organised and chaired by Jane Craigie from Jane Craigie Marketing.

“I’ve pulled together this panel of farmers and agriculturalists from across the world at a time where there really is opportunity for real change to the farming and food supply sectors following the global pandemic,” said Jane.

“I thought it would be valuable to hear from some young, influential international agriculturalists about what they think might happen next and what the opportunities are for food and farming post Covid-19.”

The webinar was recorded and can be found on the Rural Youth Project’s website here.

South Africa: Breyton Milford

Breyton is the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society Operations Manager, National Agricultural Youth Society Chairman and Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth Trustee.

He works in marketing and communications for the Cape of Good Hope society and is also a part-time sheep and beef farmer.

Australia: Emma Ayliffe

Emma is Chair of the Young Farming Champions Programme in Australia and is director, consultant and researcher with Summit Ag, an agricultural consulting business based in the Riverina and Central West regions of NSW.

She lives in Western NSW farms 1700 acres where they grow winter crops including wheat, barley, oats, canola and lupins.

Argentina: Pedro Vigneau

Pedro is a fifth-generation farmer from Bolivar in central Argentina, a passionate no-till farmer who grows fodder crops, grains and GM soya and keeps beef cattle, using technology to protect the environment.

He grows GM soya and is a passionate advocate for no till farming and use of technology to improve the environment.

Canada: Stephanie Maynard

Stephanie is a past President and Treasurer of the International Agritourism Association, and Vice-President of Expo Ormstown.

Stephanie Maynard farms 250 acres of fruit and vegetables with 100% sold direct to consumers or via ‘pick your own’.

In the ten years since Stephanie and her husband took over the family farm, they have increased revenue by over 400% and welcome 100,000 visitors annually.

Scotland: Colin Ferguson

Colin is a dairy farmer on the board of NFU Scotland who alongside his family, own and run two farms and are farmer-owners of ARLA.

Colin and his family milk 450 Friesian cows over two units in South West Scotland and they are focussed on reducing cost and driving output.

Sweden: Simon Wancke

Simon is Vice-President of CEJA, the European Council of Young
Farmers and currently works as an estate manager on a farm in Sweden with arable crops, beef and dairy cattle and sheep.

Simon manages an estate one hour south of Stockholm and noted that the current pandemic provided an opportunity to bring society closer to agricultural production.

About Rural Youth Project

The Rural Youth Project was initiated by agricultural and rural communication specialists Jane Craigie Marketing (JCM) in early 2018 to find out more about young people living rurally and their challenges, aspirations, and needs, in order to support the future of participating countries’ rural youth.

Listen to more RYP stories. 

Thumbnail Photo by Zoe Schaeffer on Unsplash