“Any community is competing on global level. Our lamb is affected by New Zealand, for example. If they had a crash in their market it would affect our prices here.” Christine
“Growing up here, according to my mum, we’d be out in our prams in the middle of lambing. We’ve always been outside whether we’ve known it or not. But growing up here has been really great because you’ve got the open space so we’ve been allowed to run free on the whole. It’s good.” Fay
“We’ve been four years in the caravan through the winters which are extremely cold. But I’m not prepared to give up on my farming dream.” Millsy — trying to get planning permission to build a dwelling on his farmland.
These are some of the voices featured in ‘Young Farmers’, a documentary film being made by Hereford based Cantilupe Projects. And here are some of thestatistics from ‘New Blood’ a report published in 2009 by the Royal Agricultural Society of England.
- Only 3% of British farm holders are under the age of 35.
- It is estimated that over the next ten years, 60,000 new entrants will be needed in agriculture.
- £250K of working capital to is needed to take on a 350 acre farm.
Given these statistics, who will be the next generation of farmers? Who will be left on the land to put food on our tables? What are the challenges facing young people who are working or want to work in agriculture?
To begin to answer these and many more questions, we approached the Herefordshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs. With their help and cooperation we are following the activities of the County Club and the stories of various young farmers, chronicling the dramas, big and small of a new generation of young rural people on their journeys through the year.
We began ‘officially’ shooting in May 2009 at the Herefordshire Young Farmers annual rally, the biggest day in the YFC county calendar It was a gloriously hot sunny day jammed full of events: sheep shearing, cheerleading, stock judging, cooking and video competitions, and dovecote building to name but a few. With the 1500 strong disco and dance, the day stretched into the early hours of Sunday. Exhausted, we headed home with enough footage to keep us going for a few days, amazed at the scale and ambition of the day’s (and night’s) events — and inspired to undertake filming for the next year.
We have continued to be amazed by the YFC packed social calendar and the energy they bring to it after a full day on the farm. However, it’s not all YFC events and socialising. At the heart of ‘Young Farmers’ are the individual stories we follow throughout the year: Graham’s family farms one of the most isolated farms on the Welsh Borders, Jono is a dairy farmer who can recognise and name each heifer and cow in his herd — by their udders, Christine reopened her local village shop when it was shut and thanks to its success she is opening another one, while Jenny and Millsy have lived in a caravan for 4 years as they struggle to get planning permission for a dwelling on their farmland. They are joined by Ben, Fay, Richard, Russell and Steve. ‘Young Farmers’ aims to give bring these fresh and authentic voices to our screens and through their passion and humour, to explore the challenges of a new generation taking on this vital sector of our economy.
If you just want to know more about the project, please contact us and we would be happy to talk to you.