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Getting Started: Starting in the industry with no farm behind you

Insights
Continuing with our top tips on how to enter the farming industry, we spoke to Chris Acaster - a new entrant who had no farm backing. Part one looks at Chris’ background and where the farming dream began.
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Chris Acaster
Chris Acaster
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Wondering if you can get into farming without a farm background? @AAFarmServices explains how it can work! #GetIn2Ag

Catch up with @AAFarmServices and his journey into the agricultural industry #GetIn2Ag

Chris Acaster was born and raised in a suburb of Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

 

After hearing negative comments about the industry, Chris decided to bite the bullet and head into agriculture saying ’when push comes to shove, you have got to do what you love’.

 

Now aged 25, Chris works with his brother, Mark, at A&A (Acaster and Acaster) Farm Services, focusing on cross compliance and contracting.

Q: Does your family have a history of farming?

A: Previous generations of the family have farmed, I'm talking 5 generations back in the 1900's.

 

It was a lot more demanding and less attractive as a job then than it is now, and that forced a change of occupation into gardening and joinery for the next couple of generations.

 

My grandparents have a couple of acres which was used for growing food and keeping a few chickens. This interested me in the agronomy side of agriculture and making plants grow well. Now they have a few apple trees and a vegetable patch, while the rest of the land has been cropped or tarmacked and covered with machinery.

 

 

Q: Why did you decide you wanted to go into farming?

A: Having ignored all advice from my friends in farming who said you are better off out of the industry than in it, I knew this was what I wanted to do, so I want and did it anyway.

 

When you've worked for someone doing something you don't particularly enjoy and live for the weekend to do what you love then in my mind, it is a no-brainer to do what you love and make as much cash as you need to survive.

 

Life is for living, not just Saturday and Sunday.

 

To read about Kayleigh Jones and how she followed her dream and began farming at 28, click here...

 

Q: How did you go about entering the industry?

Q: How did you go about entering the industry?

A: I went to Harper Adams University and studied agriculture and crop management.

 

Entering the industry as a graduate presented two options to me at the time.

 

One was to work for one of the big players in the industry in either chemicals, nutrition, land agency or grain trading.

 

The second was go home to farm, or be a farm manager. However, there are only so many farms to manage which are getting bigger, and the less farms there are means less opportunities in the future.

 

Upon graduating, I had an interview with a major supplier to a supermarket for fresh produce. At the interview I was asked various questions which had no relevance to the job, the industry, or me.

 

I decided at that point this was not the pathway for me.

 

That moment changed my life and is probably one of the most important days I've had.

Q: What has the support been like from those around you?

A: Support from the industry to gain new starters is an interesting subject.

 

Even today, without having a family who work in the industry it is easy to feel like an outsider.

 

There are not many farms or related business who would want inexperienced people; I wouldn't let anybody who cannot show me they are safe and competent on a tractor loose with any of our equipment. The same principle applies to other roles, whether that be in an office or looking after livestock.

 

Everything is a big ticket item in farming and without experience how can anyone be expected to treat things properly?

 

Someone has to take the plunge and put the time in to train new entrants, but when harvest time comes around, there is no time for that.

 

It took three harvests for me to get near a combine and and while the older generations are still doing these jobs themselves , young entrants struggle to get the experience.

 

There is a need to encourage the farming community to give their sons and daughters, younger staff, or anyone they have on the farm to have a go at any job, whether it's milking on your own, driving harvesting machines or getting qualified to do the spraying.

 

Getting Started

Chris got in touch with us here at Getting Started via Twitter: If you have something to say, say it with Getting Started!

 

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