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Young farmer focus: Ben Mycock - 'The whole agricultural industry needs a shake-up'

Ben Mycock, 29, works on his family dairy farm in Earl Sterndale, Derbyshire.

Background

 

I started farming at the age of 13 when I assisted my grandad on the family dairy farm on a Saturday to earn some pocket money.

 

I started working full-time at the farm once I left school and from the age of 25 I took on the day-to-day running of the farm.

 

We milk 130 pedigree Holsteins twice-a-day, starting at 6am and finishing at about 7pm.

 

The cows can be a challenge some days but I love my work.

 

We are currently looking at ways to alternatively market our milk as I can see opportunities arising since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

Community

 

I am an active member of the local community and sit on the parish council.

 

But I was never a member of the local Young Farmers.

 

This is a decision I regret, as I think Young Farmers is a brilliant community for young people all with a similar mindset and I would encourage any young person associated with agriculture to get involved.


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Shakeup

 

Personally, I believe the whole agricultural industry needs a shakeup.

 

Cows are making the same amount of money as they did 20 years ago, and farmers are working just as hard if not harder.

 

The use of automation is the start to the solution for farmers beginning to work more efficiently and the use of robots for jobs around the farm is something I have begun to look at myself.

 

However, without a major increase in money going back to the producer across the whole sector, this will not make farming a sustainable career for many.

 

I have seen instances in the media where bottled water is reportedly more expensive than milk per litre.

 

When you take into account the hard work and money that goes into rearing livestock, I find this totally outrageous.

 

As farmers we are the proud minders of the countryside.

 

I am a great believer that farming can be adapted to using more sustainable techniques for the environment, to strive to be carbon neutral.

 

However like anything, this comes with a price and farmers need to be financially stable if these goals are to be achieved.

 

Something needs to be done for the farming sector and the clock is ticking.

 

If we do not act soon, it will be too late both for the environment and all the smaller family businesses like my own.

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