Farmer and Andersons partner Tony Evans has been awarded the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers’ Princess Royal award for his services to the sector.
Over the past 30 years and alongside his role as a farm business consultant, Mr Evans has helped set up various farmer co-operatives, discussion groups and joint venture businesses to enable young people to get a foothold in the industry.
Speaking following the award presentation in the House of Commons, Mr Evans said nurturing staff and offering people a ’work/life balance’ was essential.
The sector also had to move away from its reputation of ’working 60-70 hours a week’, he added.
"We want the next generation to be excited about the industry," said Mr Evans
"We spend time coaching our labour which we think helps with staff retention. We also like to give people equity in the business so they feel invested in it.”
Mr Evans and his wife Mary currently run three units in Leicestershire, one of which is organic.
"For us it is not about producing more milk, it is about doing the job better and giving staff a better environment to work in," he added.
"For example we try to give staff a Friday off. We can do that by improving processes and not thorough equipment."
While robots will have a vital role to play in dairy farms in the future Mr Evans said said more research and development was needed.
"I have seen too many failed businesses as a result of robotics," he said.
"Robots are the solution in the future but not as they are now."
He would like to see innovative solutions, for example a herringbone parlour which automatically put cups on the cows’ teats.
This would enable a business to increase efficiency and reduce labour requirements without having to invest in a whole new system.