Facebook Pixel
Banner Default Image

AgriCulture Live Podcast Transcript - Episode 12

AgriCulture Live Episode 12 with guest Tess Howe from TIAH

“Skills Needed for the Future of Farming and Attracting Gen Z to Agriculture”

Rebekah 00:00

Hello and welcome to Agriculture Live. My name's Rebekah Shields and I'm from Agricultural Recruitment Specialists. Don't go anywhere. You don't want to miss this. It's a great episode. We're going to be looking at the next generation of farm workers and what skills are needed for the future of farming, so you really, really don't want to miss this. If you've got any comments or questions, please post them in the chat and we'll come to them when we can. So, just starting, Tess, would you like to introduce yourself and where you work?

Tess 01:06

Hi, thanks, Rebekah. Yep, I'm Tess Howe. I'm Head of Partnerships and Policy at The Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture, which we refer to as TIAH, and we're a new professional body for the industry, looking to encourage people in but also supporting the current workforce to improve and thrive.

Rebekah 01:22

Fantastic. So how did you get into this space as a career? What was your background?

Tess 01:28

So, I started off in animal welfare, to be perfectly honest, grew up on a farm in Yorkshire, went off to university, always loved animals, looked at lots of different careers but really wanted that sort of practical aspect to it and improving animal welfare as well. So when I left uni I joined Malton Bacon Factory as was then working on their welfare code and through the abattoir, and then I moved on to the Humane Slaughter Association where lots of practical aspects into improving welfare in the slaughter and transport of animals, before moving into BPEX, which was more about people and I've been looking at people for the past 15 years and helping them in that respect.

Rebekah 02:06

Okay, so why are you at TIAH? What is it about this organisation?

Tess 02:12

So to me, I think the farming industry is a brilliant industry to be working in, really proud to be part of it, but I do think that we don't necessarily make the most of one of our most important resources and that's people. I think there's so much more to be done with the way that we manage staff, the way we recruit them and bring them in and actually help people thrive in the industry. And I think when my, when I was at AHDB, we did a lot of management training and watch people go through those programs and see them change themselves and just take on board a few things and recognize what they're capable of and actually the improvements that then brought to the business is fascinating, and that's the bit that gives me the high in my job as well watching people thrive. So, yeah, really encouraged to be in an organisation that's focused on that.

Rebekah 02:56

Fantastic, and it's all about the people. It would be nothing without the people. Yeah absolutely so. Tell us about TIAH. What does TIAH do, just for those that don't know?

Tess 03:05

Yeah, so we're a new organisation set up on the back of the fact that many farmers and growers really struggle with training. They're either unaware of what their gaps are and what to get, or, if they do know which training they want, they're not quite sure who's the best person to offer that. And then there's the realities of farming. It's difficult to get off farm. There's not always a lot of profit in the business as well, so paying for training can be a difficult barrier for people. So TIAH has been set up as an online body to help people break down those barriers. So looking at how can we bring training to the individuals while they're still on farm, but also how do we help people identify their gaps and then look for other people that can help them. So we signpost out to training as well. So it's looking at also improving lifelong learning interaction, but actually getting recognition, as our farmers are professional people, but they don't always have a certificate like other industries do, so they're not always seen like that from an outside perspective and actually by having the tier system, people can record all their activity and they can demonstrate their professionalism as well.

Rebekah 04:09

Okay, so what type of training is it?

Tess 04:11

So we cover. We're not a training provider per se, but what we have on our platform is a number of essential skills so health and safety, biosecurity, animal health and welfare, and they're there to get people a baseline of information. But then it can be part of a blended learning where they then go to a physical training provider and get a bit more applied learning. But the platform itself has got information across the whole spectrum of growing, the technical, the compliance and the people management as well. What we've also gotten there is sort of recognizing that as an industry, HR departments can be a bit of a luxury, so recruitment retention can be quite difficult. Discipline, grievances, all those kind of typical staff management things that are dealt with in, can be a bit of a luxury, so recruitment retention can be quite difficult. Discipline grievances, all those kinds of typical staff management things that are dealt with in bigger companies can be a problem. So we've got a lot of toolkits and signposting to support for that as well.

Rebekah 04:54

Excellent. So how do you help the individuals?

Tess 04:59

So we have been set up initially to help individuals, and that's really from two perspectives. It's looking at people that are coming into the industry and helping them understand the range of opportunities that are here, the progression opportunities as well, and, I guess, highlighting it's not just about working on farm. We've got a really big allied trade that is really interested and offers a range of opportunities as well. So, showing people what's available in the industry. But from a person that's already in the industry point of view, it's about helping them upskill in the areas that if they've got any gaps, so we've got a capability profile you can complete. That will then help you say, well, actually, if you're missing a certain element, then here's the training. That will then help you say, well, actually, if you're missing a certain element, then here's the training, here's the information to help you, and the platform uses algorithms so it knows who you are. So it will also recommend further training based on what other people similar to you are doing or what you've already read, what you've already watched and engaged with. It'll then push you forward. So it's the next step on from those CPD schemes that record all your historical activity and actually saying, right, that's brilliant, but now it's time to look at what's going on as well.

Rebekah 06:07

So it's really about helping that industry be the best. Ok, so is it just the farmers and growers?

Tess 06:14

At the moment that's our primary audience. Yeah, what we have found is a lot of the allied trades are logging in as well to have a look so that they're up to date on aspects that maybe aren't their specialism, but helps them with their clients excellent.

Rebekah 06:26

So let's get into the people bit now. So, we're looking at the future employees of agriculture and farming. Can you just explain to people that don't know the different generations and what qualifies you within that generation? You know baby boomers, gen X, etc.

Tess 06:50

Yeah, no problem. So probably before we start, it's worth highlighting. This is a really generic statement about different generations of people, so sweeping statements and people will look at that and say, oh yeah, no, I fit into it but actually, or I don't fit into that, that's not me at all. So, it is just generic. But it does really help us with the way people are thinking and working and operating on farms. So what's really interesting now is, as an economy, this is probably the first time we've got four different generations working together. I think it's probably one that farming could claim we've been ahead of the curve on that one because we've had multi-generations for a long time.


But really the baby boomers are those people that are sort of 60 to late 70s. They'd generally be seen as continual learners and they're constantly looking for stimulation. Intellectually they resist the concept of being told they're old and probably got a bit more tech knowledge than we give them credit for as well. But these are the people that really like that face to face interaction. They don't want to be online. They want to actually talk to somebody rather than pick up the phone or send a text. And it's these little differences where we can see the rubs between the different generations and what people preference. So they're still eager, still optimistic, in the workplace as well. But where they're concerned is that they're getting displaced by younger people and because of the way they've worked, their professional identity is really important to them. So their job role, the fact that they're the farm manager or they've been the top stockman for all their life, is really important and actually they worry about losing that relevance as well as they get older. If you move to the next generation, gen X, that's the sort of 43 to 59.

Rebekah 08:22

Just to interrupt, if we look at the average age of a farmer, it's like 58 at the minute, isn't it?

Tess 08:31

Some reports would say 58. Some of our work suggests it's a lot lower. But yeah, the people in charge of the farms are definitely a little bit older, but actually as a population, we are generally shifting a bit lower as well, which is good news. But yeah, so the Gen X, you would say, is probably one of the popular generations in there, so typically self-reliant, and they want to get on and do things. Time is currency like money for these people, money for these people, and they are the generation that started that shift towards being less work-centric and more looking at their family and friends and not focused on it's just all about work all the time. And the concerns for these kind of people are that they don't feel they're necessarily prepared for those leadership roles and for stepping up, and also they feel a little bit in the middle ground. So, they're not getting support from the boomers, who were also worried about being pushed out, but actually the millennials, which is the next generation. Um, there's quite a big difference in their attitudes and they're seeing that they're not supported from that perspective as well. So they worry that, although they're trying to have that family life, they're actually probably not got the balance quite right in in family and work.


Move to the millennials, which is, the 28 to 42 year olds, and what's interesting to remember about these guys is internet is their number one resource. Everything's on there and they probably trade privacy for that convenience of getting the information straight to hand. So, it's not so much about reading a book for them or talking to somebody, it's about going online and finding that information. Their attention span is also a lot shorter than previous generations and I think when you're managing people, that's a really important thing to be aware of. They want transparency and they want to see career opportunities in what they're doing and they want to progress fast. So concerns for that group is that they are not understood by their older colleagues, and I think we've probably all got scenarios we can relate to that that rub between the generations. But they do worry about disapproval and they worry about not being heard and not being able to express themselves, and that can manifest in lots of different ways which we'll see in the workplace.


So the younger generation, which I think is what you wanted to focus on today, Rebecca, Gen Z so these are 12 to 27 years old. They've never lived the life without the internet, so that's a bit of a stark reminder for some of us, isn't it? But unlike previous generations, they're learning from what actually happens when you're living on the internet as well, so they are very concerned about privacy, cyber security in that case. They're a lot more switched on about what they're actually doing with that internet and uses of it. But where they really shine is they're very value conscious. So they really want to get involved in something that they believe in, very ethical, a lot of the time, and they want to get involved properly and they want their job to work around their values and what they believe in as well.


And they are, contrary to what some people would say, hard-working problem solvers. So they've seen things change. They've been in a generation where things are moving very fast. They know how to adapt to that and to move and to work and to make it work for them. So they like really prompt and regular feedback, and I know, when you're from that older generation that just got on and done, it's quite difficult to give that constant feedback and feel like they're not just being a bit needy. But that's how they work. They want to improve, they want that feedback.


So we need managers to be a lot more communicative than they necessarily have been in the past. They worry about welfare, cyber warfare, environmental harm and global instability as well, and I think it's worth remembering that this generation don't stay if they're not happy and that's probably something we'll touch on later, but there's some. I heard something yesterday about the fact that now people joining the workforce will retain retrain 10 times in their career. Things are moving so fast and jobs are changing in what they do and it might be not quite as relevant in the industry, but that's what people are expecting that they'll be constantly learning and constantly adapting, and they're often described as the most generation in the fact that they're the most diverse, the most educated and the most ethical consideration. So all of that is their background as to what they're doing. So that's just a really sweeping statement Rebekah, it's so interesting, isn't it?

Rebekah 12:33

Yeah - It really is - so looking at them in terms of considerations in terms of employment - What are the different considerations for these different generations in terms of you know, their next job and things like that?

Tess 12:55

So I had a really great analogy yesterday and I've blatantly pinched it. And if we have houseplants in our house, they're going to have different needs. They're going to want different amounts of water and they're going to want sunlight. Some are going to want shade. It's exactly the same with people. Some people are going to want that constant attention. They're going to want to be out there in the sun. They want people praising them, talking to them, feeding back to them. You're going to have a different generation that wants that shade role. They want to be sort of hiding back and just allowed to get on with it. So it's really about “what is that individual?” And, as I've said, you will get some people that, age wise, should be Gen Z but actually act more like a millennial or vice versa. So don't just take it as sweeping. Look at that person. But I think it is everybody's different and I think it's very hard, if we lack self-awareness, to not expect somebody to do what we would do so.


I think in the past we were talking about the pig and poultry fair. When we got jobs. It was “I've got a job, thank you very much, that's great.” Whereas now the next generation are “well, yeah, I might take your job if it fits what I need out of a, out of a career, and I might stay with you if it's getting me somewhere.” So I think we have to turn our expectations around and really understand what's driving that next generation. Can we give them more progression opportunities? Can we give them responsibility? Can we keep feeding them that knowledge and information that they crave? And by doing that then we're much more likely to keep people.

Rebekah 14:17

So let's look at that Gen Z that you know that, our future employees. How do we firstly attract them to work for us?

Tess 14:27

So I think um, values is going to be mentioned a lot through this half hour and as an organisation and I did a lot of resilience work when we're in AHDB if a business has values and objectives, you can see that direction and then you've got that transparency for that. There's people coming into the industry what as it wasn't an employer, are you offering them what's in it? For me and most people when they're interviewing now are interviewing you, the employer, as much as you are interviewing them, because they want to know do you stick up with what you're saying? You do? And I think you talk values, talk branding, a lot of farms I said that I'm just one man band and that's not relevant to me, but actually, it doesn't have to be that corporate. And when you look at the businesses that are doing this kind of thing where they say, right, these are our values, this is where we want to be, we want to be fully regenerative farming or we want to do x, y and z, if you're living values, then people are going to be a lot more attracted to you and if you've got that good reputation as an employer, I think it's really important to have that and I think, as an industry when training is so difficult to come by, we often say, well, I don't want to train them because they're going to move on, or this generation are moving.


There's nothing we can do to keep them, and I don't think we should shy away from that. I think it's something we should embrace, because if we have somebody for three, four years, if we invest in them and I do genuinely believe training is the best investment any farm can have they're going to give you masses while they're actually with you. You're going to get far more return on investment whilst they're actually with you. And when they do leave, they're talking about you in a very positive light and they're saying it was a great place, it got me to where I want. But my next step is away from this business, and I think that then comes around in circles and the research we did a couple of years ago shows word of mouth recruitment is still huge and actually having people talk about you in a positive light and being that employer of choice is what will attract people.

Rebekah 16:22

From a recruitment background Tess. You know, from our standpoint, you know we have them employers where you know bad news travels fast and people just do not want to work for them, you know. So it's really important that you do treat your employees well, um, so that you know you're not getting that bad, that bad name in the industry yeah, because it's a lot harder to change a bad name than it is to keep a good name. And I was reading as well that, you know this generation they'll be changing careers multiple times. It wasn't like years ago, where you stay in the same job or industry. You know, we're looking at people moving across to different industries as well, aren't we?

Tess 17:06

Absolutely. I think thats the skill set. I don't think it's hard to imagine farms of the future employing a number of different people for very specific jobs and, like you say, they'll be crossing, they'll be working in a completely different industry on a Monday and then they'll be on the farm on a Tuesday and back again to a different industry. So I think the skill sets are changing in the way that we adopt and embrace technology and information as well.

Rebekah 17:29

Okay, so in terms of Gen Z, so how do we retain them? You know, because we want to, if we've invested in training, I know from my point of view as a business owner, if we've put all that money in, we've invested in training, you know it costs a lot to take on an employee. How do we keep them Tess?

Tess 17:51

So, I think it goes back to what's in it for them. And really can you and we can't change businesses? Businesses are seven days a week. There's 15-hour days that are thrown in there on a regular basis and we can't change that. But actually can we look at different ways of employing people?


So I was speaking to a pig farmer last week. He tries his best to work to a 45 hour week for every person, weekends off. They put flexibility into that so that they can go off and do the school sports day or they can take an appointment at the end of the day but knock off a bit earlier. Those kind of things, that kind of give and take, is really important to these people, that flexibility, because I think again from yesterday the size of inactive people economically is growing in this age range as well, because they're not prepared to just do a job for the sake of it and they want to do a job that they value. So it's really important that you can keep them on track with what they want.


We've got other examples where they've looked at their local workforce and said, well, actually they really want to do a certain number of hours a day or they want to work in evenings and they've changed the way around. It's not possible for everybody, but I think that flexibility in what you can offer somebody and you can keep that development up. It doesn't have to be promotion, isn't always about a new job and becoming the manager. It's about taking on a different responsibility and looking at how you can help them thrive. And we can't shy away from the fact development is expensive and investing in training is expensive, but it's not when you're investing and you're getting those benefits back.

Rebekah 19:32

And most people when you speak to them, they want a work-life balance, don't they? Yeah, it's become a buzzword. It's not like years ago where people it was work, work, work all the time. You know that unhealthy culture.

Tess 19:40

It's changed, it has changed and it needs to change as well. If you look at our record of health and safety, you look at our mental well-being. They're not good.

Rebekah 19:49

It's not something that would encourage new people into the industry, and I mean, isn't agriculture like the most dangerous in terms of health and safety or deaths? Is that correct?

Tess 19:58

Fatalities, we have the worst record. Yeah, yeah, and it's really. It's really sad that, though and a lot of them are from somebody cutting a corner because they haven't got a time or they were tired, and it's a really difficult situation, but it's something that, actually, if we had the right people enough people, I think that's half of it, isn't it? When we're all tired and we're short of staff. We run around and do things we shouldn't necessarily do, but it happens, but the well-being as well, when, in our research, it showed that stress of not having the right labour was really affecting farm managers as well.

Rebekah 20:34

So with Gen Z right? We've got these people on board. You know we're making sure that we're value conscious. We're making sure that you know we can offer progression, everything else, what would make them quit their job?

Tess 20:50

If you go back on your word, essentially breaking that trust.


Do what you say, absolutely, and I think, going back to that recruitment side of it as well as there's a lot of talk about having an online presence as well, but actually it's more dangerous to have an out-of-date online presence than it is to have no presence. So you really do have to keep looking at what have you actually promised them and are you delivering that so they will leave if they're not happy? I was reading an article a few weeks ago about this generation. When we were growing up, we knew if you put a few hard shifts in and you really saved, a house was a possibility for you.


But, this generation. Now it's not possible. So actually they're saying why would I work all those hours? What's the point? What is the point of me doing that? So if you break your word, if you're not keeping up with their values, if they're not seeing that their values are being delivered through that job, you're not giving them that feedback and you're not looking after them as individuals, then they are going to say bye.

Rebekah 21:47

So what does all of this mean for the employer, Tess?

Tess 21:55

I think it means about being more of a people manager. You've mentioned those bad examples, but there is hundreds of good examples as well, where actually it's a particular person in a business that's made a difference and they're thriving through no other reason than the fact that they're blooming. Good stock managers, people managers, um and they invest in that. They've got that self-awareness to know what they're good at and what they're not so good at. They've got that open mind as well. So I think for an employer, it's really about being open and not having that expectation. Just because I did it, I expect everyone else to do it, because times are changing and we need to adapt and evolve with that and you've got to look at people as individuals.

Rebekah 22:32

It’s not black or white, is it? You know other people have different motivations, you know different values, and so on and different priorities and they shift as well.

Tess 22:46

Yeah, so I mean there's a quite a strong evidence for people involved in training until they get to their early 30s, they drop off and then they come back in sort of mid late 40s, literally because life gets in the way, because you've got so much going on outside of your job and, with all the best will in the world, there's a lot going on.

Rebekah 23:02

So when people have got young families, they've got different priorities, haven't they? Yeah, absolutely they don't want to be away from home as much. There's all, all of them things to consider. I get that yeah okay. So looking at this then, so what would you say are the skills that are needed for the future of farming and agriculture?

Tess 23:24

So two sides to this. So when we did the research, that I talked about earlier, then we asked farmers and growers what they were, and it came across what much technical skills and support around compliance they buy, security, environment, etc. Animal health and welfare all of those really came across. What much technical skills and support around compliance, the biosecurity, environment, et cetera, animal health and welfare all of those really technical things. And then it came into sort of digital skills and adoption of robotics, and I think what was really important is that they are really real. But actually we're not going to make the most of those if we don't look at our soft skills and in particularly, the meta skills, which are more about adopting that sort of fostering that environment of constantly learning and changing. So for me, I think future skills are based around adaptability. Okay, if you've got that adaptability, you sort of need three elements to that the self-awareness, to know what you're good at, what you're not good at. And people that are very self-aware are much better at making decisions, they're much better management, and they take people with them. What's really interesting is that when you do research on self-awareness, 90 people say they have it when 15 actually do. Okay, so knowing yourself, accepting what's real we've we're faced with so many different things, aren't we that we have no control over and actually accept reality and be more empathetic, because that's how people are moving towards now. They want their employer to care about them. Creativity it's going to be really important.


We've got so much innovation coming down the pipeline and research, but how does that actually bridge the gap and become commonplace in the industry? So people are going to have to think differently, and it's not just about developing ideas, it's actually just exploring new ways. And that's where the next generation come in with their problem-solving skills. Is that they can really look at things in a different way and do that kind of different thinking. And finally, resilience. I think that the industry has it in masses, because we face so many problems and so many different attacks and from different places as well. But I think if you can overcome those failures when mistakes have happened and it's letting people make mistakes is the really important part as well. A mistake is a learning opportunity, isn't it? And if you can do things better, often you do things and then it goes wrong and you do something differently. It's actually a lot better in the long run. So, I think it's really about that helping people experiment and overcoming failure and moving on.

Rebekah 25:54

I was reading something the other day about how change is happening quicker and quicker and quicker. So that adaptability is so important, isn't it?

Tess 26:05

Yeah, and they were saying as well, at the conference yesterday that if you've got those different generations, if you use AI as an example, you might have the baby boomers that are really resistant because they just don't trust it and they're not confident in it, but you've actually got the Gen Z going right. Actually, how do we make this work? Because there's something we can do with this. So, rather than sort of dismissing and change brings chaos, doesn't it? And again that brings a lot of uncertainty but rather than just saying, well, that's not what, I know, I'm not going to do it, use those younger people to embrace it and look at how it can work for you as well, because the only way you know to be successful is to continually evolve, isn't it absolutely around you learn from others and so on.

Rebekah 26:45

So, this is a big question. What does all of this mean for the future of recruitment?

Tess 26:55

I think it means we just need to do things differently. Um, and, I think, constantly evolving and adapting to the needs of the industry – they change, don't they? The consumer demands change, the environmental demands are all changing constantly. So how do we actually keep ahead of the curve and what are we looking at? But for me it's about being a little bit more structured.


In your recruitment, one thing, one thing that goes for your recruitment – you’ve got someone that’s just left. So actually, what do they think about the business? And use that to your advantage. But I also think it means that that structure is there actually, what is my business looking at? What, where do I want my business to be and how, how do I share that information? But also and I still think it's quite a shame we don't see much job roles and descriptions. So people move on and they got. “So Tom's left, tom was brilliant, but he's moved on, so we'd look for another Tom.” But actually the business has moved on at the same time and now we need a John or a Debbie, and so it's actually how do we bring that in? And use that as an opportunity to start looking at the skills and then, if you've got somebody coming and asking you what's in it for me, then you've got all of that information that you can share with them and they'll see you as much more proactive.

Rebekah 28:08

Okay, and so a major issue that we come up against all the time, something that I'm passionate about, is attracting new entrants to the industry. You know we need these people. How, in your opinion, Tess, do we do this?

Tess 28:25

I think it's a multifaceted approach. There's no one shot wonder to do that. Otherwise we'd have already done it, wouldn't we? So I think, when you look at it, we did some careers research when we started as well, and there was probably three key points from that - Lack of coordination and collaboration from lots of initiatives. So if people came looking about finding out more about the information than about the industry, then they weren't finding it because there was a bit here and a bit over there and they might want one element and not see another.


There was a mismatch in the perceptions of the industry versus the reality, it’s still seen as a very outdated industry, hard work, dirty, long hours, low salary, etc. We know that can be different. We know salaries are actually can be quite competitive as well One of the big things that we're working on as well. There was a mismatch in the language that we use versus the aspirations of the next generation. So we would say “do you want a job in agriculture or farming?” And they'd say, “no, I want to work and I want to be involved in the environment and I want to work for a sustainable company and I want to produce nutritious food.” So well, that's farming, but we're not selling it to match their aspirations. So we need a consistency of message about what's going on and how we actually support the industry. If you look at the curriculum, it's often quite negative if it's used, excuse me. So how do we influence that? And there's great programs going on with that work as well, but it's about showing that opportunity.


So the work that TIAH’s doing is accepting that there's great people out there educating children and careers seekers, but actually nobody's working on those careers influencers. And I think we all know of somebody that's gone and said “I'm really excited about a career in pharma” and their careers advisor said “don't be stupid, you're far too clever for that industry. They haven't got any qualifications, there's no progression.” We need to change that. So we're working on the influencers to make sure that their perceptions are up to date.


So we're working on the influencers to make sure that their perceptions are up to date, and it is about that evolving inclusion and diversity, I think, is a really big thing that we need to. We're seeing the careers research showed that we're seeing as quite a cliquey industry and if you're not a farmer, I can't get into it again, not true? But actually how do we make sure that that is seen and again - How do we show a safe industry to be working in as well? Because actually would you be sending your child to an industry that's got that that bad record? So I think there's lots of things we can do to improve our own perception, but actually that that perception, reality really needs balancing out but it's the education, isn't it influencers, etc.

Rebekah 30:54

They're so important because I know for myself, Tess, I'm not from a farming background. But if anyone had said to me,”Do you want to go and work in agriculture?”, I just think, well, I'm not going to go and work on a farm, but there's so much else. You know, there's business advisors, there's all sorts - like what you guys do. You know your organisation, you know it's huge as an industry, but we all pigeonhole it into working on a farm and that isn't the way it is. I mean, I tell people that I do agricultural recruitment. They go, “so you recruit farmers,” yeah, occasionally, but we do a lot more than that.


So, it is about that getting the knowledge and the education out there, that there's so many different facets to our industry and different types of roles. You can work in an office, you can work outdoors. You know you can do a mix of that.

Tess 31:48

I genuinely don't think there's a profession that doesn't have a place in our industry at some point in the supply chain, and I think that is really misunderstood. So, yeah, it's really important to get involved and it's a really exciting time.

Rebekah 32:00

You know, we're big on sustainability. That word is being used everywhere. We've got so much, you know, exciting agri-tech coming through for people that want to get involved in new technologies and things like that, so it's a great time. We need to be jumping on this and getting these people involved. We definitely do. Yeah, definitely, absolutely so. Um, the question that I always ask all of my guests is what do you think are the biggest issues for agriculture going forward?

Tess 32:29

So, I'm not going to pull any surprises here, I'm going to go with people. I think is the biggest issue, and I think if we haven't got the capability and capacity in our workforce, that's a massive limiting factor and it is holding us back. Already our research showed how people are changing production systems, reducing production or going out of business because they haven't got staff. So I think it's a really big problem, and I think it's not just the number of staff, it's the skills set they've got. Big problem, and I think it's not just the number of staff, it's the skills set they've got, and if we haven't got that adaptability, we can't adopt new innovation, we can't adapt to consumer demands, we can't improve ourselves, and so I do think that's a big risk.


But, like every business threat, it is an opportunity as well, and I think it's like you just explained. It's such a ripe for the opportunity at the moment in the fact that the work pool is decreasing and we're having to change the way we're doing things and the innovation is going to only get faster. Um, so I think it's a really good opportunity as well for us to get the right people make hay while the sun shines.

Rebekah 33:30

Tess - what a great discussion, as you've explained there. You know, in all of that there was so much good information there, um, but it's really important that organisations adapt to these needs of the future generations, so it was so good to just have that input today. Thank you for everybody watching and listening and thank you, Tess, keep following us. We've got some really good discussions coming up. If you want to be on the show, please get in touch with me at agricultural recruitment specialists via www.agriRS.com and if you would like to hear more on any new of these issues and topics that we've got, please follow us on the various channels. So we've got Spotify, YouTube, apple podcasts - just look up AgriCulture Live. So thank you so much for joining us today. Over to you, Tess.

Tess 34:27

Thanks very much, Rebekah. I don't think there's much to say other than what we've covered. There's obviously a lot more to go into, so if anyone wants to get in touch, please do and we'll see how we can help you. Thanks, Rebekah.

Rebekah 34:37


Tess 34:38



Cta Default Image
businessmen walking through a dairy farm

Looking for


businessman shaking hand at interview

Looking for