Public engagement is key
Why young farmers have to fight their corner,
Where do you stay?
Do you hold any officebearer roles at Young Farmers?
I am club secretary and previously I was district secretary and chairwoman.
What’s your background in agriculture?
I was brought up on my family’s mixed beef, sheep and arable farm.
What do you do for an occupation?
Primary school teacher.
What sparked your interest in agriculture?
Living at home on the farm and helping out during busy times.
What’s the most rewarding thing about working in farming?
I don’t work in the farming industry but I love educating pupils all about farming and the countryside. It always amazes me how disconnected some children are from agriculture despite living in a reasonably rural area.
As rural youth, do you think there is something we should be doing additionally or differently in the farming sector?
As an industry we could do so much more to educate non-farmers about what we do and how we do it. We really have to fight our corner and educating children is the best place to start. Organisations like the Royal Northern Countryside Initiative already do a great job, but we need to reach more children so to do this we need more farmers to help out where they can.
Where do you see the sector in 10 years’ time?
I think unless we can change the mindset of the general public and the image they have of ‘modern farming’ then our industry is in trouble. We need to get the public back on side and to value what we do.
Why did you join Young Farmers?
I joined Mearns when I was 15. My older sisters were already members and always talked about how much they enjoyed Young Farmers and all the fun activities they did so both them and my parents encouraged me to go along.
What do you enjoy most about Young Farmers?
The social life and all the various events the clubs put on are the highlight for me. Throughout my 11 years in Young Farmers
I have been very active and thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many people through the organisation. I also enjoy competing and last year was involved in our winning North Spotlights team and us winning National Club of the Year.
How has Young Farmers impacted your life?
It’s made me life-long friends and improved my organisation skills, confidence and communication. Developing these skills has undoubtedly been helpful in my career as a teacher. Young Farmers always seems to be discussed in job interviews and it’s definitely looked on as a positive by employers.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to join?
Speak to your local club and get involved. There are so many things going on, I’m sure you’ll find something that interests you.
SKILLS: Teacher Lynsey Thow has been involved with Young Farmers for 11 years and credits it with helping her in several areas of her life