New entrants / post entry / building the future of our industry.

Been having general discussions today with a couple of people about the future of the sheep industry, some very interesting points raised to be fair.

Someone pointed out that these days we have probably more young folk wanting to get into sheep farming / shepherding than at any other time (or at least for a long time), we have more young women wanting to get into it than ever before.

This is a good thing I think ! However are there the opportunities now to expand into a viable buisness after entry ? And I mean a viable buisness farming sheep / shepherding. I would say there is a huge call for good shepherds, but most of the new entrants seem to want to run their own flocks / have their own farms (which is entirely understandable), but is this actually possible ?

This led us on to a discussion about the kind of industry we are building, or more specifically the kind of industry that young and new entrants are building or seem to want to build.

It seems a lot of new entrants have a lot of nice clothes, nice kit etc and a very small number of sheep, with what appear to be high costs - cake, creep, treats, hay, stuff, and general messing about. So assu they aren’t making much money ? Which is grand if it’s a hobby, but if you want it to be your living ?

And I know that we only see a glimmer of those who are new entrants through things like social media, but it just seems that the whole attraction is the image, the look, the freedom to not work too much, or the cute lambs. But do these folk think about things like wormer resistance, anti biotic resistance, genetics etc? Do they need to ? Is there enough money in sponsorship and stuff like that ?

Just some musings we were having whilst having a meeting on top of a hill in the sun.
 

Electricfencer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cotswolds
I’m not on any other social media so don’t see what you are taking about. But I do watch youtube and Cammy on the sheep game is a very good example of what hard work gets you, shears over 10,000, scans 1000’s and runs his own good sheep flock, he was in the police until recently and would go shearing in the day and do his night shift after.
 
I'd say there's definitely no more probably less than when I was a youth, difference now is most shout/complain on social media about how disadvantaged they are and how life isn't fair, or shout about how wonderful they are, instead of just knuckling down and getting on with the job like folks used to.
There's probably another breed of the same quietly just getting on with it some where though.
 

Red dogs

Member
Not on any form of social media so I keep away from all the bullsh** . But I started out with 35 Shetland ewes on rented ground and over 10 years built up to 400 / 500 Welsh ewes whilst working as a free lance shepherd and shearer. It was great but as I got older I thought why! So I sold the lot and now work as a full time shepherd for a great boss, I have a house with the job and I get regular time off it’s great as I have got back into old hobbies I just didn’t have time for when I had my own stock,
 

Jonp

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Gwent
There is a young fella down here that started shearing, he then went into scanning in a big way and has got a good reputation. Had a small flock of his own but now, through shear hard work, is lambing 600 ewes of his own on his own bought ground in his paid for new shed. Also works for another farmer doing similar numbers. I take my hat off to him....if you're willing to put in the work and have a bit of luck a living can be made.
(He's bought a house and started a family too)
 

Tim W

Member
Location
Wiltshire
I come across lots of new entrants/young folk aspiring to be shepherds /farmers
And I take great inspiration and hope for the future of our industry from them
They work hard and ''make their own luck'' often pushing into areas/ideas that others (older sods like me) don't want to deal with --

The ones that really make it (and as with all walks of life not everyone wins all the time) achieve some incredible things whether it's through building their own flocks or managing contracting businesses etc

There is lots of shepherding on social media and i think that's great too---it gives people confidence , lets people learn from other people in similar positions & shows the world/consumer what producing food is all about.
This i think is really important to the future of red meat production---getting the real story across to the public and also learning about consumer desires , this in turn helps us with future marketing strategy

It's also great to watch new entrants journeys through the industry---I met one such young aspiring shepherd many years ago when he came to buy a few older ewes to start his flock off (dad had to drive him i think) & he now runs a large commercial flock both for himself and for other people ---(he would also be quite vocal on forums/media ;) )
🥃🥃 here's to many more young (and not so young) new entrants leading the way
 

SteveHants

Member
Livestock Farmer
Been having general discussions today with a couple of people about the future of the sheep industry, some very interesting points raised to be fair.

Someone pointed out that these days we have probably more young folk wanting to get into sheep farming / shepherding than at any other time (or at least for a long time), we have more young women wanting to get into it than ever before.

This is a good thing I think ! However are there the opportunities now to expand into a viable buisness after entry ? And I mean a viable buisness farming sheep / shepherding. I would say there is a huge call for good shepherds, but most of the new entrants seem to want to run their own flocks / have their own farms (which is entirely understandable), but is this actually possible ?

This led us on to a discussion about the kind of industry we are building, or more specifically the kind of industry that young and new entrants are building or seem to want to build.

It seems a lot of new entrants have a lot of nice clothes, nice kit etc and a very small number of sheep, with what appear to be high costs - cake, creep, treats, hay, stuff, and general messing about. So assu they aren’t making much money ? Which is grand if it’s a hobby, but if you want it to be your living ?

And I know that we only see a glimmer of those who are new entrants through things like social media, but it just seems that the whole attraction is the image, the look, the freedom to not work too much, or the cute lambs. But do these folk think about things like wormer resistance, anti biotic resistance, genetics etc? Do they need to ? Is there enough money in sponsorship and stuff like that ?

Just some musings we were having whilst having a meeting on top of a hill in the sun.
I've got one (very) sharp female student who's keen to get into the sheep industry, shes based over in the east of the country in non term time.

Her approach is to do as much work experience on differing setups as possible and make the most of that.

I think she'll go far - good head and doesn't seem to be into "treats" etc, just making it economically viable.
 

Jockers84

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Caithness
Unfortunately new entrants are often not really new entrants, rather a farmers child coming off the pap and starting up elsewhere (usually with lots of help from mummy & daddy. It’s a closed shop where I am, the government policies and even the crofters commission are sleep walking into corporate farming, this really stifles social mobility and limits community spirit. Lots of them can go on social media and waffle about it but there’s probably very few that are worth their salt.

Sorry for the rant but
 

SteveHants

Member
Livestock Farmer
Unfortunately new entrants are often not really new entrants, rather a farmers child coming off the pap and starting up elsewhere (usually with lots of help from mummy & daddy. It’s a closed shop where I am, the government policies and even the crofters commission are sleep walking into corporate farming, this really stifles social mobility and limits community spirit. Lots of them can go on social media and waffle about it but there’s probably very few that are worth their salt.

Sorry for the rant but
I think if you want to start up in sheep and you are from a sheep and beef area, you need to move - I mean this in the nicest possible way.

Go east, young man.
 

Jockers84

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Caithness
I think if you want to start up in sheep and you are from a sheep and beef area, you need to move - I mean this in the nicest possible way.

Go east, young man.
I’m ok, I’ve ground out what I’ve got and I’m happy. Just pointing out that the term new entrant covers quiet a broad spectrum of people, and within that band there’s a significant advantage to the privileged who essentially are really hard to be classed as new entrants. New start is maybe more apt?
 

SteveHants

Member
Livestock Farmer
I’m ok, I’ve ground out what I’ve got and I’m happy. Just pointing out that the term new entrant covers quiet a broad spectrum of people, and within that band there’s a significant advantage to the privileged who essentially are really hard to be classed as new entrants. New start is maybe more apt?
There's plenty about from non-farming backgrounds about - the student I mentioned above is one. I sold up cos BREXIT, but I'm another.
 
I'd say there's definitely no more probably less than when I was a youth, difference now is most shout/complain on social media about how disadvantaged they are and how life isn't fair, or shout about how wonderful they are, instead of just knuckling down and getting on with the job like folks used to.
I'd tend to agree.
There have always been hobby farmers, but the numbers of people with an interest in making a living from livestock is on the decline and has been for some time
 
I come across lots of new entrants/young folk aspiring to be shepherds /farmers
And I take great inspiration and hope for the future of our industry from them
They work hard and ''make their own luck'' often pushing into areas/ideas that others (older sods like me) don't want to deal with --

The ones that really make it (and as with all walks of life not everyone wins all the time) achieve some incredible things whether it's through building their own flocks or managing contracting businesses etc

There is lots of shepherding on social media and i think that's great too---it gives people confidence , lets people learn from other people in similar positions & shows the world/consumer what producing food is all about.
This i think is really important to the future of red meat production---getting the real story across to the public and also learning about consumer desires , this in turn helps us with future marketing strategy

It's also great to watch new entrants journeys through the industry---I met one such young aspiring shepherd many years ago when he came to buy a few older ewes to start his flock off (dad had to drive him i think) & he now runs a large commercial flock both for himself and for other people ---(he would also be quite vocal on forums/media ;) )
🥃🥃 here's to many more young (and not so young) new entrants leading the way

very good post.

And aye, I will always remember that day in your kitchen, looking at your wall of photos and memories .......

You said to me, it might not all work out and go to plan, but it will be a hell of an adventure. And you were right !
 

Bwcho

Member
Location
Cymru
As someone who considers themselves to have been a new entrant, with little prior farming knowledge/contacts, I think it's only right to recognise how important and priceless this forum is as a knowledge bank. I almost want to do a personal shout out to all those whose advice has helped me immeasurably along the way, but I'll refrain from doing so.

Unfortunately, the future for new entrants does look very unpredictable at best and dare I say even difficult, with commodity/input prices, carbon credits and its inevitable impact on land prices, pressure from vegans/media and a worryingly increasing disconnect between farming and our leaders and friends in the cities.

There will of course still be opportunities for new determined farmers but I fear that unless they have inherited land, born into a farming/wealthy family, or have amassed wealth elsewhere, I feel those opportunites will become scarcer and more difficult to find.
 

Tim W

Member
Location
Wiltshire
There will of course still be opportunities for new determined farmers but I fear that unless they have inherited land, born into a farming/wealthy family, or have amassed wealth elsewhere, I feel those opportunites will become scarcer and more difficult to find.

Whilst i would have agreed wholeheartedly with this when i was younger (i was always jealous of the farmers sons/daughters i knew with a known path into the industry) ---i am now glad that i didn't inherit a farm .
This meant i had the freedom from tradition to do what i wanted
It also meant that i didn't have to argue with parents about how to farm
It also meant that i didn't have to wait until my parents died before i had a say in the business

Figuring succession into a farming business can be as difficult as starting with nothing i think?
 

Bwcho

Member
Location
Cymru
Whilst i would have agreed wholeheartedly with this when i was younger (i was always jealous of the farmers sons/daughters i knew with a known path into the industry) ---i am now glad that i didn't inherit a farm .
This meant i had the freedom from tradition to do what i wanted
It also meant that i didn't have to argue with parents about how to farm
It also meant that i didn't have to wait until my parents died before i had a say in the business

Figuring succession into a farming business can be as difficult as starting with nothing i think?
I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're right. A stress of a different kind.

Goes to show that the grass is rarely greener on the other side.....its just a different shade of 5hit. Regardless of what utensil you were born with.
 
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Gulli

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Somerset
As long as I can remember there's been small flocks about that have some kit and feed loads of cake and generally muck about. Wether it's a full time income or not I don't know, I don't expect it is but does it really matter? For every one that goes into it that way there's one that ends up with a 1000+ sheep and plenty in between somewhere just quietly getting on with it.
Life would be boring if everyone did the same thing
 

Anymulewilldo

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cheshire
As long as I can remember there's been small flocks about that have some kit and feed loads of cake and generally muck about. Wether it's a full time income or not I don't know, I don't expect it is but does it really matter? For every one that goes into it that way there's one that ends up with a 1000+ sheep and plenty in between somewhere just quietly getting on with it.
Life would be boring if everyone did the same thing
You need the young “all the gear no idea” shepherds so when they have tried for 5 years and got less money than they started with us that have lots of sheep because we spent money on livestock not equipment can go along with a handful of readies and pick that rather smart kit up at a realistic price!!
I’m a young farmer, but definitely not a new entrant. I know 3 new entrants that have really started from nothing (not those that say they do but really mummy and daddy are bank rolling them from their out of farming jobs) and now they are bowling along well all 3 of them. Either scanning, shearing or milking along with their own outfits. Best of luck too them, you never see them out bigging it up on social media. They just work hard, buy sensible and are genuine nice people so you get on with them rather than going out of your way too stamp on some jumped up little shite who reckons he’s the big I AM.
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

court-640x360.jpg
A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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