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    The needs of new entrants

    The needs of new entrants
    03/09/2020 Steph Wetherell

    Between April and June 2020, the Landworkers’ Alliance ran a survey to better understand the needs, demographics and barriers facing new entrants to agriculture.

    The primary aim of the survey was to help policy makers and commentators understand the barriers new entrants face, the support they need and the amazing contributions they are already making to agriculture and land-based work in the UK. As the average age of farmers continues to rise, the challenges facing the industry mount and the urgency of shifting our farming and land use to socially just and environmentally sustainable systems increases there has never been a more important time to support a new generation of farmers, growers, foresters and land-based workers.

    Adam Payne, New Entrant Policy coordinator for the Landworkers’ Alliance said:

    “The results reinforce on the ground evidence that there is a large and diverse range of new entrants setting up mixed, agroecological holdings with a good amount of experience under their belts and a real drive to scale up their businesses. But they face an overwhelming range of barriers and need support to meet their potential.

    From accessing land and getting planning permission to low levels of relevant training, few appropriate grants and difficulties raising capital, there is a wide range of obstacles that need addressing at a policy level. It is more important than ever that we support a new generation of agroecological producers, and we know what needs to be done. We owe it to the skill, drive and passion of these new entrants to get on with it, we don’t have time to loose!”

     

    Summary of results

    For the purposes of this survey we defined new entrants as people who have been in a senior decision making role in an agricultural holding for under 5 years, or those who had been in such a role for under 10 years but still considered themselves to be a new entrant.

    The range of area farmed and turnover was wide (as is to be expected of new entrants), but the average holding was 8.1ha with a turnover of £23,500. The total turnover of the group was around £2,000,000.00

    The gender and ethnicity of respondents was significantly more diverse than average for UK farming, with 54% of respondents female, 17% of respondents not white British, of which 9% identified as Black, Brown or Indigenous People of Colour and an average age of 37.

    The respondents ran mixed enterprises, with 63% operating more than 1 enterprise. The majority of those operating 1 enterprise were running diverse horticultural holdings with a high degree of complexity.

    The most popular enterprises were those that provide a high turnover from a small area including vegetables, fruit, poultry, plant nurseries, processing and some livestock. Only 3% currently run dairy or arable enterprises, but 16% and 11% aspired to do so with the right support.

    The respondents indicated very significant barriers to setting up and scaling up their businesses with 61% struggling with accessing land, 46% struggling with accessing finance and 54% experiencing access to relevant training as a barrier.

    77% had education at degree level or above but only 21% had agricultural qualifications at level 2 or higher, suggesting a lack of relevant training.

    Only 4% of respondents did not identify access to land, finance or relevant training as a barrier and in most cases those who did not were working other jobs to generate income for start up costs

    Only 15% have accessed grants and 8% had accessed loans so far, but 94% indicated that a grant would help them transform their enterprises.

    With an average grant size of £20,000 and a total grant package of £3,000,000 the respondents believed they could increase average holdings size to 12.6ha and average business turnover to £56,800 with a total annual turnover of £7,000,000

    You can read the full report here

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