4th December 2018

Barclays backs next generation to boost Britain's farms

Barclays has launched #FarmtheFuture, a nationwide campaign encouraging farmers to plan for their future and tell young people about the benefits of a career in agriculture, as new data reveals that Britain’s farming population is ageing rapidly.

The bank has teamed up with TV presenter and former JLS boyband star JB Gill, who has swapped pop stardom for a rural life of turkey and pig farming, to show the younger generation that farming could be their perfect career.

While many farm businesses traditionally pass down through families, farmers with no direct succession are now exploring alternative options, including share farming agreements. These allow new entrants to farm in partnership with the farm owner with much less capital required than starting out alone, and their share of the business can grow over time through profit share.

JB Gill said: “There’s a lot of misconceptions among young people about what a career in agriculture really means. It’s hard, physical work so it keeps you fit, you get to work with animals, you’re your own boss and you can keep up with the trends by posting everything on social media for everyone else to see.

“The farming community is really welcoming, providing newcomers with knowledge on everything from tending to animals to financial advice. You don’t need to have your own land to work in agriculture, there are many options from farm management through to the service industries and I would encourage anyone interested to give it some serious consideration – it’s a life like no other!”

Mark Suthern, national head of agriculture at Barclays, said: “Barclays has over 150 agriculture relationship managers working the length and breadth of the UK to support businesses within their local communities and help them plan for the future. Every industry needs new talent to innovate and look to new markets, and the next generation will be vital as the sector strives to boost productivity and drive growth.

“British farmers have proven time and again their ability to diversify, innovate, and weather tricky economic conditions, so the skill and experiences the older generation can bring are vital. But the next generation need to learn the skills to carry businesses forward in the future. The best place to make your first enquiry on a road to a farming career is your local agricultural college or university.”