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The Next Generation Council, which was formed to ensure that Fram Farmers remains relevant to young farmers, was recently addressed by Douglas Inglis, Farms Director – East Anglia and South East – for Velcourt, Europe’s leading Farming Company. The company’s Direct Farm Management Business, which incorporates 88 clients, 41 business units and 52,800 ha, also has 41 advisory clients in the arable and dairy sectors.

One of those who attended was Tim Galloway, who was instrumental in founding the Next Generation Council. Tim is involved in his family’s business which specialises in whole farm contracting throughout Essex. In addition to their own 250 acres, the business now operates 1800 acres of contract farming arrangements, as well as contract spraying an additional 700 acres and carrying out a large amount of contract Avadex application. Having found out about a forthcoming Pie & Pint meeting via Twitter, rather than the information which Fram Farmers had sent to his father, Tim realised that there was a potential information gap between generations.

Talking about it with neighbouring young farmer James Schwier, he realised that this was becoming increasingly common in the farming sector. To try to fill the void he and James invited Fram Farmer's Group Business Manager Ashley Gilman to visit and from that discussion the Next Generation Council was born. Since then, Fram Farmers has also made increasing use of Twitter as a way of communicating information to its younger members.

Having studied agriculture at Writtle and Plumpton, Tim has been involved in his family farming business for the last six years. An active member of Young Farmers, most recently as Chairman of Ongar Young Farmers, as well as a number of other farming-related organisations, he values the benefits of Fram Farmers membership and is keen to see the Group continue to lead the way.

Fram Farmers is very forward thinking in its approach and I like that. To keep it moving forward it will be essential to involve the younger generation so that there is a constant flush of new people coming through who are enthusiastic about the agricultural industry, passionate about their own businesses and willing to contribute their experiences, knowledge and vision.

“The Next Generation Council has been going for about a year now and has around 25 members, but interest is really starting to pick up. We have two meetings a year, in June and December, at which everyone is involved in the discussion. There are many people out there who, like me, are reaching the end of their time in Young Farmers and the Next Generation Council provides an exciting, intellectually stimulating environment through which they can channel their enthusiasm for the industry and really make a difference.”

Ashley Gilman adds:
“It is exciting to have been involved in the Next Generation Council from the outset, helping to get it up and running at a time when succession planning and good management are so important. Earlier in my career I was very fortunate to have worked as a Farm Manager for Velcourt and had the benefit of fantastic support from the company’s highly experienced Farms Directors. Such a structured programme for developing management skills is rare within the farming industry and a key challenge of coming into a farm business is gaining the respect of the workforce. Velcourt are particularly skilled in this area and have an excellent infrastructure for developing their staff, which is why I asked Doug to pass on the benefits of his experience at the last meeting.”

If you would like to join the NextGen Council please call us on 01728 727700.