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Young Farmer Focus: Flavian Obiero - 'Agriculture could do more to attract people from different backgrounds'

Flavian Obiero, 29, is a pig unit manager at Plumpton College in East Sussex.

Growing up

 

Having grown up in the coastal town of Kilifi, Kenya, it never crossed my mind that one day I would be pig farming in sunny Sussex.

 

Farming

 

I have always had affinity for animals but my career in farming was purely coincidental. While studying for my A-levels, I needed to complete a few weeks of work experience in animal related businesses in order to apply for vet school.

 

After a few phone calls, I managed to get hold of a farmer in Hampshire where I ended up for a week to work with pigs.

 

I was offered a job on the farm, which seemed like a reward after a solid week of concreting with no pigs in sight.

 

This was the beginning of my love for farming.


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Goals for the future

 

Fast forward a decade, I am now managing a 130-sow, farrow to finish unit at Plumpton College in East Sussex.

 

This job has given me the perfect opportunity to do what I enjoy as well as pass on the knowledge I have to the future generation of farmers.


I am also doing a part time MSc in livestock health and production with the University of London.


Once I have completed this, I would like to carry on farming alongside some consultancy work.

 

It has always been a dream of mine to run my own farm.

 

As difficult as it is to obtain farmland in the UK, I have not given up on it yet and I am planning to make it a reality in the near future.

 

Agriculture and diversity

 

Most of the diversity frequently discussed in British agriculture is about what different crops can be grown on one piece of land or how agribusinesses can diversify to improve sustainability.

 

It is not until recently when the conversation about human diversity in agriculture has gathered momentum.


I think British agriculture could do more to attract and recruit people from different backgrounds into the industry.

 

With the country due to leave the EU imminently and fears of a reduced work force becoming a reality, we as farmers should do our utmost to encourage British citizens from non- farming and different cultural backgrounds to join the industry.

 

Apprenticeship schemes should be made available in order to train those with little or no experience to enable them to forge a career in agriculture.

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