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Young farmer focus: Catherine Hynd - 'It is hard for a non-farmer to enter the agri sector'

Catherine Hynd, 27, is from Jedburgh, Scottish Borders. She graduated from Heriot-Watt University with a degree in business management and is working towards becoming a rural bookkeeper. 

Upbringing

 

Growing up in the Scottish Borders, I have always been surrounded by rural activity and had an interest in what was going on around me.

 

Friends had mentioned to me about joining Young Farmers, however, one difficulty I faced was that I was not from a farming background, therefore felt I would not fit in.

 

At 20 years old I finally plucked up the courage to join Teviotdale Young Farmers Club (YFC), and soon found myself attending every event going.

 

I learned so much as I went along and realised the Scottish Association of YFCs’ (SAYFC’s) motto is correct and young farmers is indeed ‘not just for those who wear wellies’.

 

After completing two years as treasurer for Teviotdale, followed by two years as secretary for Border Federation District, I was slowly becoming one of the older members in the club.

 

I felt it was time to hand over the reins to younger members, and what better time to do something for myself and book a one way flight to New Zealand.

 

Opportunities

 

Arriving in New Zealand it hit me that I was completely on my own and did not have my friends round me. So what better opportunity to go out and make some new friends at the local YFC.

 

I quickly realised one major difference from Scotland, I was one of the younger members.

 

This was not the only difference. It appeared to me that Piarere Young Farmers were less about competitions and more about socialising, so they were quite surprised about how many events we took part in through SAYFC. However, they soon accepted me as one of their own.


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Despite having never actually worked on a farm, let alone knowing absolutely nothing about dairy farming, I decided to apply for a job as a dairy farm assistant.

 

I was extremely lucky to be working for a lovely family, who were very patient in teaching me everything from scratch. I quickly picked up what was required and realised I had finally found a job I loved.

 

Prior to arriving in New Zealand I thought I would link my business degree with my love of rural life and become a farm secretary, with some hands-on farm experience helping me to understand terminology included in the job.

 

Next step

 

Having recently returned home, I have picked up a couple of part-time jobs to tide me over, with my main goal being becoming a farm secretary.

 

It is difficult for a non-farmer to enter the agri sector, as they are often seen as nobodies.

 

I found going to New Zealand has enabled me gain experience and realise my full potential. My advice for younger members is ‘life is short, do what makes you happy’.

 

For me, that has been Young Farmers. You get out what you put in and make so many friends in the process.

 

There are so many opportunities through Young Farmers and I would not have had half the experiences I have had if it had not been for Young Farmers. My only regret is not joining sooner.

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