Tenant farmer Nick Grayson has been appointed as the new vice chair of the Future Farmers of Yorkshire, a network of younger farmers, vets and industry professionals who will be at the forefront of generational changes in British agriculture post-Brexit.
Future Farmers of Yorkshire is supported by registered charity, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, which works all year round to support the farming community and champion agriculture.
Nick farms with his wife Carys and two young sons near Rotherham, South Yorkshire where they adopt sustainable and environmental farming practices across a mixed enterprise comprising of arable land, Aberdeen Angus cattle, rare breed sheep and pigs, and turkeys for the Christmas market.
Our main passions are supplying local meat to the surrounding areas and farming using sustainable practices. My family started producing Christmas turkeys on this farm in 1929 and we have carried on ever since. More recently we have introduced lamb, beef and pork boxes – sausages and bacon have proved a hit on Sunday mornings.
We try to farm in the most environmentally sensitive ways possible. The creation of wildflower meadows helps our bees produce superb honey, and environmentally friendly managed hedgerows throughout the farm create perfect habitats for our favourite farmland birds.
Our cattle are extensively reared and never forced or pushed using more modern feeding techniques. The same applies to our turkeys, slow grown and fed using wheat grown here on the farm.
With so much at stake for British farming as Brexit leads to new international trading relationships and changes to farming support payments, Nick believes the future of the industry can be bright and that Future Farmers of Yorkshire has an important role to play.
The industry is about to enter the next farming revolution if we can get this right. Unfortunately though, no one knows where we might find ourselves by the end of 2020, never mind the coming five to 10 years.
With all of this, the farming community can soon be full of doom and gloom, which makes the role of the Future Farmers of Yorkshire as a forward-thinking network of emerging industry leaders, all the more important.
The Future Farmers of Yorkshire has grown to a membership of more than 1,000 since it was set up 10 years ago and despite disruption to events this year, the group has continued supporting the next generation of farming leaders.
Last month, the group’s online Autumn Debate offered top tips for keeping an entrepreneurial mindset from an experienced panel of diverse businesspeople. The event can be viewed back in full via the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s website.
In the new year, the group will offer leadership training and other business workshops, as well as sponsored places at the virtual Oxford farming conferences in January.
Nick’s appointment as vice chair sees him work alongside West Yorkshire farmer and Future Farmers chair Alastair Trickett, and the group’s management board. Together they will plot how best to support their peers through the industry’s upcoming challenges.
Moving forwards to a time when direct subsidies have been phased out, it is inevitable some farmers are going to have to make some very tough decisions and Future Farmers is an ideal organisation to offer the help and support as all of us look at which way to turn for the best.