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The Future of British Agriculture

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by MJB, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    We keep being told we need more engineers, scientists etc. and more and more kids are being told they need a degree. No one ever mentions the growing skills shortage and aging workforce in agriculture. There’s good earning potential for any youngsters who pursued a career in farming. Yeah it’s hard graft, but we need the brighter kids to join what is an increasingly high tech industry. Sadly they’re not being pushed our direction and end up as a burger artiste after 3 years of a media studies degree. Could this be a solution?

  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Excellent idea. I'd be all for a drive to introduce more and relevant vocational GCSEs. I'd especially like to see a GCSE in small business administration and another in personal finance. The emphasis on academic subjects is of little use to a majority of youngsters leaving school.
  3. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    True, but...

    You need the academic subjects for those who will benefit from them. And those who benefit may not be the obvious ones.

    Emphasis on vocational subjects for everyone seems to me to be a sneaky way of channeling the lower orders into different categories of office/factory fodder, leaving the less 'useful' subjects for the gentry.
    RogerMac likes this.
  4. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Well I had to do my teaching bit in the garden centre today. This loively old man was looking in bemusement at the array of fertilizers on offer. The woman serving came over to help him, but obviously had no idea at all which one to recommend. No idea about the properties of NPK or the whys.

    I helped him after finding out what he wanted to grow. Part time job for me? ;)
  5. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    No-one is going to do it if they haven't an inclination to do something useful instead of drifting into the Arts, media or other subjects, by accident.
    What is wrong with learning to be a plumber, or electrician, or horticulturalist, or learning the complex world of farming. Farmers have had my admiration since childhood and as a career? Go for it. Learn planning, accountancy, nutrition, engineering, maintenance, animal husbandry, crop management, use of chemicals and their properties, land management first before you dismiss it as an also ran area to study. I know I couldn't do it.
    Zou and Andrew Flannigan like this.
  6. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Absolutely nothing. Our problem as a nation is that we've bought the academic snobbery. Bottom line: there's no one more important than the people who provide our food and the people who take away our waste.
    Learning, peterba and Catriona like this.
  7. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    Every child or rather young adult has the right to go to university, however what they don't tell them is that a lot of them will be working in "menial" jobs, stacking shelves in supermarkets, flipping burgers or topping pizzas. Some of the lucky ones might actually end up being Deliveroo delivery cyclists (or rather persons on bicycles)
  8. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    The old secondary modern schools outside large towns often had Farming , Lessons, clubs and societies.The one in Tenterden even had school livestock and growing areas, back in the 50's.

    Agriculture takes both academic and practical abilities to be successful. Most farmers are also "apprenticed" to farming and growing, from a young age, by their families.

    Like many hands on jobs, it is better to learn the problem on the job first. And only then move on to study it in more depth, and perhaps discover new was to progress.
    Catriona likes this.
  9. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    My local college has courses involving animal husbandry.

    Sadly they received rather a lot of adverse publicity when a radical vegan student, who had signed up for the course, realised that the pigs they were raising were to be slaughtered at the end of the term and made a fuss in the local papers as well as creating an online petition demanding that the pigs be sent to the same 'holiday farm' that her dog had gone to some years previously...

    Far be it from me to comment on the intelligence of a vegan who signs up for an animal husbandry course. But I'm going to:

    I freely acknowledge the right of every person to adopt the diet of their choice (as long as it does no harm to others - I'd take a rather dim view of involuntary cannibalism, for example), however to sign up for an animal husbandry course - the fundamental aim of which is to teach the best way to raise animals for meat - and then to deprive the other students of an integral part of the course...the part where the relative quality of the meat from the butchered animals is appraised..is just stupidity.

    Cheers, Jeff

    PS - the petition was picked up by several international vegan websites, resulting in rather a lot of signatures. In the end, the college administration agreed not to send the pigs to slaughter and instead, promised that they'd be re-homed and would stay together - presumably on the same refrigerated shelf of the supermarket.
  10. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    They should have invited the petitioners to a conciliatory meal and served them each a nice pork chop. Who knows? They might have liked it.
  11. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    If myt brother's job is anything to go by, the future of British agriculture is fast asleep in a ditch - I don't think he thought about the hours of overtime they were suggesting in terms of how long he'd be working, as opposed to ££££s, he just saw an opportunity to get back onto the land. Most of the time he's out of the house about 16 hours a day six and sometimes seven days a week, and is travelling the breadth of the county at agricultural vehicle speeds on contracting.

    On the bright side he is now, relatively speaking, minted, because he isn't actually awake to do anything with all the overtime money. I'm assuming come harvest they'll just turn the GPS on on the combine, and snooze while it cuts the corn on its own.

    Back to another point from earlier in the post, I'm all for academic education (hell, I've done fairly well out of it over the years), but it's not for everyone by a long chalk, and I suspect that the drive to get more and more people into university has led to an awful lot of people with an awful lot of debt finding they have a qualification that's of little use in the real world. Surely it would make sense to have a decent vocational system to complement the academic system (and they needn't be mutually exclusive either - I moved an upright fridge freezer at work a while back on a pallet truck and, when I realised it was too high for a doorway, I got some extra hands and we tipped it back until it fitted. At which point one of the guys in stores told me it was a good job it was me moving it, there were some people so academic they'd have tried to take the door frame off... sad, but true!) - but then again, weren't we all told how simple B****t was going to be, and look at that now?

  12. Lindsay Pennell

    Lindsay Pennell Well-Known Member

    Adrian has it.
    But, school and university were supposed to be for education, not training. Everyone needs to be taught how to learn - reading, arithmetic and writing, basic skills, and how to find things out. At an age where they can start to think about a preferred direction or interest in study, they can choose appropriate subjects and target qualifications. Personally I think it was a good system to have fewer universities, complemented by polytechnics and FE Colleges. EG, I see the Royal Agricultural College now is the Royal Agricultural University.
    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  13. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    They probably thought 'Animal husbandry' meant they were going to marry them.
    Catriona likes this.
  14. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I disagree. They were probably not stupid (except to the extent that we are a species evolved as omnivores). They signed up to be troublemakers. I suspect that the adverse publicity came from a very small minority of very vocal, loudmouthed, often violent animal rights activists. I hope that the genuine students got to eat the meat of their labours.
    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  15. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Back to the actual topic started by Martin.
    I find it a disgrace that Britain buys more food than it exports. This is a simple matter of national security. Some industries are essential. Agriculture and horticulture are two of them. As a maritime state I include Fishing. Let's leave steel, and metalurgical industries for another thread.

    Much of the problem has been caused by the EU agricultural policy. This is designed for the benefit of French farmers and taken advantage by the Dutch and Danish in particular, and the Germans to some extent. I have no problem with olive products and Fennel from Greece and Italy; it seams that many Brit cooks have not even heard of them (olive oil is something they put in their ears to soften ear wax).

    Clearly some British farmers and horticulturists will suffer from Brexit, but a firm Brexit will open up opportunities.
    We the public will need to do our bit. We will need to pay a bit, or even a lot, more for our food. We will need to appreciate the seasonal availability of some foods more than we do at present.
    Our fishing has been reduced by the rape of our waters by European boats. Again, we the public will need to learn how to cook and enjoy those species of fish with which we are not familiar although native to our own fishing grounds.

    It will take time to adust the rates of pay for jobs. Some jobs seen traditionally as humble are actually valuable. Some traditionally valuable jobs will be much reduced by AI. I can easily imagine the time when agricultural workers will earn more than office wallas. Also in the newly high tech agricultural jobs there will be a need for high tech expertise, and corresponding pay.

    Some time ago some woman at a Tory annual conferance made a comment about cheese. It was hilarious the way she said it. She will never live it down. The message she was trying to deliver is actually sound.
  16. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    The rape of our waters?

    About four families control about 30% [?] of British fishing.

    British fishermen were the only ones in Europe to sell off their quotas to foreign fleets.

    The EU gives money to the UK as to other EU countries, this is then passed on to the farmers in a way decided by each individual country.
    The UK decided to give it to the big boys, other countries to smaller farms.

    Blame the British government, not the EU.

    Lindsay Pennell, AGW and Catriona like this.
  17. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Don't you dare go confusing people with stupid things like "facts". Mindless soundbites are all that's needed.
  18. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I doubt we have half a dozen fishing out of Stornoway now. The Marina is the only fully filled area. Our fish comes in from Aberdeen and Peterhaead.
    The reasons? Big money hand out in the mid 1980s. Lots of fishing boats around then! From that point onwards, they got less and less and as I said, probably the only ones now are for shellfish.
  19. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    For want of somebody else to blame, I'm going to blame Kate for the fact that I've now got 'Shrimp Boats' by Jo Stafford stuck in my head!

    Cheers, Jeff
    Catriona likes this.
  20. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    :( :( :(

    It's a sad truth that mindless soundbites are all a certain proportion of our fellows understand.
    Benchista likes this.

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