July 16, 2017

17/07/2017: “Without dedicated staff, there is no food or food industry”

by Chris Jackson, Export Manager, UK TAG
Here we are half way though another farming year, one wonders where the time goes
Chris Jackson

Back in the UK our livestock farmers are well into their silage making and as ever was the case, the weather does not suit all of our growers.

The UK has had one of the driest springs on record in fact, but having said that crops are looking well, lets hope that this translates into good harvests.

It is quite remarkable that in the UK the average total rainfall for the year does not vary a great deal, so lets hope that we do not have a wet time when we need dry conditions come harvest.

Returning from seeing farming in Australia where mostly the scale of arable farming is huge, to here where I live amongst livestock farms serves as a good reminder of the diversity of our industry.

Mechanisation is still the key to managing and working the farms. Lots of our young people are no longer prepared to work the long hours with small rewards that come from traditional farming.

Those that remain need second incomes to sustain their families; this cannot be healthy for the long-term future our industry needs.

I am not convinced that amalgamating holdings to make bigger and bigger units is the answer, as this precludes young new entrants to our industry, as the capital needed is beyond the reach of most except the super rich.

It may open opportunities for managers working with companies, however for this policy to succeed a career structure needs to be created with dedicated staff.

Our industry is unique in that it does not work by the clock especially within the livestock industry and through harvest times.

Therefore we need people who are dedicated and can adapt work plans almost by the hour when problems occur that need instant attention. Much as we try all living things can have unscheduled events that need instant attention.

We try with technology to lessen the effects of unwelcome surprises and to make farming as routine as possible. But problems still occur.

I am reminded that whilst harvesting in Australia a major bearing broke in the harvester completely unforeseen which meant that work had to stop whilst the machine was fixed not only frustrating but needing the operator to use different skills to change the part.

I talk about this to demonstrate the skill base needed to manage farms successfully. We have an old saying in the UK “Jack of all trades master of none”.

Read the full article, HERE.

The Global Miller
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