Three young people in the early stages of careers in farming provided an insight into how they got into their current roles when speaking at the Lincolnshire Farming Conference. Jonathan Wheeler reports.
Both of Alex McNulty’s parents were teachers, but they lived in Lincolnshire. He started with British Sugar in the company’s graduate training scheme.
That gave him the chance to learn about different parts of the company and the wider business environment and work in a range of placements.
He said: “It was perfect for me, because I was not sure what I wanted to do. I learned about all aspects of the company and completed BASIS and FACTS qualifications.
“It put me in a good place for progression to my current role, in which I enjoy working with all the growers and other industry partners.”
Farmer’s daughter Rosie Fox was unsure what she wanted to do. She joined ADM in September 2014 as a trading assistant, having originally applied for a role as a trainee grain trader.
She said: “It was not the most exciting job, but it got me where I want to be. You often have to do things you do not want to, and do them with a smile on your face.”
Aged 24, she now manages a team of six full-time employees and up to 30 temporary staff, as well as organising the company’s presence at major business events, such as Cereals and LAMMA.
She said: “My day-to-day role is so varied. Multi-tasking and being flexible are really important. I got here by being resilient and determined and being prepared to do anything.”
She admitted she accepts any challenge even if, at the outset, she does not know how to handle it, because she will benefit from the training she receives.
“Any time an opportunity comes along, I say yes.”
Ross Davenport completed a degree in zoology and worked at Reading University on the farm accounts before returning to the family farm.
He agreed that gaining a broad experience was important, and said farming’s tendency to seek people for set roles might deter young people from staying in farming, because they might see brighter opportunities and more varied work elsewhere.
His working life ranges from looking after and milking cows, to selling cheese at farmers’ markets and hosting tasting sessions in the local supermarket.