Dispelling myth of flat-capped farmers

JAMES MANNING.

JAMES MANNING.

WITH modern farming using the latest technology and innovations, the National Sheep Association (NSA) is keen to dispel the outdated stereotype of the flat-capped farmer bent on holding up traffic in his tractor. James Manning is fighting this stereotype on the front line, as a forward thinking farmer, and now a TV presenter on BBC 2’s Harvest 2015 and Channel 4’s First Time Farmers. He is hoping to inspire other “farmers of the future” in the new Next Generation area at the NSA Sheep Event on Wednesday July 27 at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire. “I believe one of the biggest challenges we face is attracting young enthusiastic people into the industry, people who are going to take us forward into the future,” he said. “For those sorts of people to be interested in the industry we have to showcase what we do, across all sectors. “I think the general public needs to see agriculture as a young, exciting and vibrant industry to be a part of.” For the 2016 Sheep Event, NSA is capitalising on its Next Generation project which includes an ambassador programme that selects a group of 12 young sheep farmers each year to take part in technical training and personal development. NSA has been running the programme for three years so more than 20 NSA Next Generation Ambassadors will be at the event for visitors to speak to. The new dedicated area will help encourage prospective young entrants to consider sheep farming as a realistic option and encourage those already taking their first steps in a career or business. There will also be an interactive map, aiming to highlight clusters of young sheep farmers to set up future discussion groups, and an opportunity to practice media skills. “Industry events like this are great as they bring a lot of people together in one place, so you have a captive audience to engage with,” said Mr Manning, who is looking forward to getting involved in the NSA Next Generation area at the show. “The great thing about farming is that it’s a passion, not just a job. “It’s our responsibility to try and portray that to new entrants and the wider public, so they buy into it as well.”

To book tickets visit www.sheepevent.org.uk

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